As St. Thomas University honors Black History Month, College of Business Professor and Director of the Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, Dr. Justin Peart, is spearheading a campaign to create a Black Heritage Scholarship Fund to specifically benefit a black male and black female student in need of tuition assistance each year.
“Many of our St. Thomas University students are from low-income and poverty-level socio-economic families,” stated Dr. Peart. “It is very difficult to see students struggle with worry that they may not be able to complete their courses simply because there is not enough financial aid to go around. The Black Heritage Scholarship Fund is being created to help give economically disadvantaged black students the extra funding to pay for tuition, books and other educational necessities.”
Dr. Justin Peart personally understands how heavy it is to carry a financial burden as a student of very limited means. When he moved from Jamaica to the United States in the early 1990’s to pursue advanced collegiate education, he had very little money and felt his dream of achieving a Master’s degree dwindling. Still, he put all of his efforts into his studies and university programs, and participated in student government as a graduate student representative. Through these endeavors, he met the Graduate Dean and ultimately shared his story of financial challenges. So impressed with his persistence to succeed against all odds, and his willingness to get involved and represent the needs of graduate students, the Dean waived 90% of Peart’s tuition for one year.
“I don’t know if I would have been able to make it otherwise. I thanked the Dean and I thanked God. I was in shock because I did not expect such grand assistance. Now, it is my turn to do what is necessary to pay the kindness forward by creating this important scholarship fund,” stated Dr. Peart.
The St. Thomas University Black Heritage Scholarship Fund will be designed to provide STU alumni, local community, and other stakeholders the opportunity to honor someone in their past who helped them to move forward during a time of financial struggle. The fund will provide opportunities for others to pay-it-forward.
“Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?’”, stated St. Thomas University President David. A. Armstrong, J.D. “Dr. Peart’s initiative exemplifies this spirit and represents the fundamental commitment of St. Thomas University to do what we can to ensure the academic and professional success of our students. I applaud Dr. Peart on his idea to create the Black Heritage Scholarship Fund which will give other donors opportunities to honor the people who helped them by providing financial support to students in need.”
The St. Thomas University Black Heritage Scholarship Fund will be awarded for the first time in the Fall 2021 semester. Scholarship awards will be based on financial hardship and other criteria currently being developed.
To donate today, please visit www.stu.edu/givenow and select “Black Heritage Scholarship Fund” from the Giving Options menu.