Tavis Smiley presents the founders award at the 33rd annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Dolby Ballroom on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
Journalist and activist Tavis Smiley has established a $50,000 scholarship fund at his alma mater, Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, to aid the academic goals of African-American students. The fund is especially targeted toward Black students who are first-generation college attendees.
“My education at IU and SPEA continues to contribute so much to what I’ve accomplished in life,” Smiley said in a statement. “As a native Hoosier, I want to do all I can to make sure students from backgrounds like mine can enjoy the same opportunities I did.”
To be eligible for the scholarships, high school students must be enrolled in the university’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, must have financial need and must have demonstrated leadership initiative in their community.
The scholarship amounts will range from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on need.
“We are grateful to Tavis for this generous gift and for all he does on the national stage to improve our nation and world,” the school’s Executive Associate Dean, Michael McGuire, said in a statement. “I am pleased to announce that SPEA will match the gift so that we can reach even more students.”
Since 2008, Smiley has provided scholarships to support students of color, students from diverse cultures and women in attaining their educational goals at the school.
“We are committed to preparing the next generation of leaders for the greater good,” McGuire said. “This new scholarship will help us bring to SPEA a collection of future leaders who are as diverse as possible.”
Smiley grew up in Bunker Hill, Ind. The author of several best-selling books, Smiley is also the host of several talk shows on public television and radio and a venerated Black leader.