When we come together: Creating a new scholarship at lightning speed

With resounding support from the alumni community, a new Annual Fund scholarship benefiting black students at Brown kicks off in 2019-20.

For the more than 700 alumni and guests in attendance, the Black Alumni Reunion was an emotional homecoming and milestone. There were heartfelt bear-hugs and raucous applause. There were thought-provoking panels. There were guest appearances from notable alumni like Debra Lee ’76 LHD’14 hon.; President Emerita Ruth Simmons LHD’12 hon.; and Lynn Nottage ’86 DFA’11 hon., P’20.

And, there was an ambitious call to action.

In the midst of the weekend, the Inman Page Black Alumni Council (IPC) announced a drive to create a new scholarship in honor of the Reunion and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Walkout of 1968. The IPC Brown Annual Fund Scholarship would provide financial aid for one exceptional black student over four years at Brown.

“ Just as many voices contribute to the chorus as one, our community of many has banded together to contribute to the future of Brown as one. ”

Russell Malbrough '98 Co-Founder and President of the Inman Page Black Alumni Council

But to get this brand new scholarship off the ground, they’d have to raise $100,000 in only nine months.

They didn’t do it in nine months. They did it in four.

“We didn’t just barely clear our goal. We blew through it and surpassed our bar,” says Russell Malbrough ’98, co-founder and president of the IPC. 

With the goal met and the scholarship beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, Malbrough believes this is just the beginning of what the black alumni community can accomplish.

“Just as many voices contribute to the chorus as one, our community of many has banded together to contribute to the future of Brown as one,” he says. “Together they made a statement: they believe in the power of a diverse Brown and are committed to making that vision a reality.”

Being the agents of change

This scholarship is the newest addition to the University’s growing efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. The biggest piece of that puzzle has been the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion action plan, which set an ambitious framework for cultivating a fully diverse and inclusive Brown.

In the three years since its launch in February 2016, it has helped boost the number of faculty and graduate students from historically underrepresented groups, as well as propelled the establishment of the U-FLi Center (Undocumented, First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center).