Through its annual fundraising efforts, the Skegee Golden Tigers have fully endowed a new scholarship benefiting current football student-athletes. The scholarship effort dates back to 2014, it was first established as an annual scholarship to encourage student-athletes to excel academically and promote sportsmanship.
Leonard G. Lewis, one of the 11 members of the scholarship organizing effort, said for him the opportunity to give back to Mother Tuskegee is truly a rewarding experience.
“I have advocated and encouraged alumni and friends to financially support Tuskegee, and the best part of working with the scholarship is reconnecting with former football players,” noted Lewis. “Our motto — ‘tailgating with a purpose”’ — emulates our service and commitment to giving back through a great cause.”
Other scholarship organizers include eight football teammates and three key supporters: Wanda Burgess, Willie Chavers, Freeman Cooper, Joe Eatman, Ronald Gilmore, Roosevelt Jordan, Leonard G. Lewis, Tim Mays, Billy Pearson, Charlayne Turner, and Ken Woodard.
The scholarship’s purpose is two-fold: while it promotes student success, it also honors football alumni and friends. During the fall, the organization raises funds through its annual homecoming tailgate fellowship. The tailgate event serves as the cornerstone of Skegee Golden Tigers’ annual scholarship funding efforts.
In addition, the scholarship memorializes deceased alumni: Jerome Hawkins, the first former football player to pass at the time of the organization’s formation; legendary football coach Haywood Scissum; and Ronald M. Gilmore, who was one of the original organizers and a Golden Boy, also known as, a Tuskegee Football alumni.
“The scholarship, like our organization itself, perpetuates the memory of Tuskegee Golden Tiger Football and aims to encourage higher education – while also providing leadership development opportunities for highly motivated students with limited financial resources,” explained Lewis.
Throughout the years, Skegee Golden Tigers has contributed over $32,000 to its scholarship fund. Organization leaders decided recently to establish an endowed scholarship fund. When the endowment reaches full maturity in January 2023, it will begin making $1,000 scholarship awards per year into perpetuity. As an endowment, the original gift (principal) is invested, and only the generated interest income is awarded as scholarship support.
When the endowment reaches maturity and applications are accepted, to be eligible for the scholarship, students must possess a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better; demonstrate leadership qualities on the football field and in the classroom; and participate in community service projects locally and/or nationally. Priority will be given to prospective recipients who meet all other requirements and are also from a single-parent household. When applications are accepted, the university’s head football coach and athletics academic advisor will review applications and select a recipient.
For more information about supporting this endowed scholarship, contact Lewis at LLewis@skegeegoldentigers.org, or visit www.tuskegee.edu/give. Contributions made online and by mail should be designated to the SGT Endowment (Designation Code E1951).
Learn more about the Skegee Golden Tigers at skegeegoldentigers.org.
Source: Tuskegee University
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