Members of the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni are taking a historic step in making the university accessible to all deserving students. AVBA supporters are working to establish an AVBA Scholarship that will be open to students in any Vanderbilt undergraduate school who qualify for need-based aid and who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, tolerance and social justice.
The AVBA scholarship effort is closing in on its $100,000 goal. Cathy Bender-Jackson, BS’82, a vice president for Merrill Lynch, and Karen Jefferson Morrison, BS’82, president of OhioHealth Foundation and senior vice president of external affairs for OhioHealth, are leading the AVBA Scholarship fundraising effort.
“The AVBA Scholarship is part of the Opportunity Vanderbilt initiative to raise $100 million in support of expanded financial aid,” Bender-Jackson explains. “The best and brightest students will be able to attend Vanderbilt because admission is based on ability—not ability to pay. ”
“Our vision of Vanderbilt is that of a diverse community that creates an exceptional academic opportunity for tomorrow’s leaders,” says Morrison. “We see this as our opportunity to have a lasting impact at Vanderbilt. It truly is our legacy.”
Since Vanderbilt instituted need-blind admissions and announced the Opportunity Vanderbilt initiative, the number of minority students has risen significantly. The Class of 2014 is the most diverse in Vanderbilt history, with 30 percent self-identifying as a minority. The percentage of African American students rose to 8.9 percent from 7.4 percent for the Class of 2013.
Gifts and pledges for $100 million in new scholarship endowment must be secured by June 30, 2011.
The Association of Black Alumni’s support through gifts to the new AVBA scholarship will help Vanderbilt achieve this essential goal.
Bender-Jackson and Morrison both applaud James Stofan, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations, and the alumni relations team for their partnership in the success of this effort. To find out more or to make a gift of any size to support the AVBA Scholarship, you may call Stofan at (615) 343-4099 or go to www.vanderbilt.edu/alumni/avbascholarship.