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Charles Butt donates $1 million to PVAMU; Funds to support Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice

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PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (June 11, 2020) – Charles Butt, H-E-B Chairman, announced today a $1,000,000 personal contribution to Prairie View A&M University in honor of University President Ruth J. Simmons.

President Simmons joined Prairie View in 2017 after retiring as President of Brown University where she served as President from 2001 to 2012.  She had previously served as President of Smith College from 1995 to 2001. Born in Grapeland, Texas, she grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward where she graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School.  She holds both a Master of Arts and Ph.D. degree in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University.  Simmons chairs the Board of Directors of the Holdsworth Center for Excellence in Education Leadership.

“When I learned of Mr. Butt’s gift, I was overwhelmed,” said President Simmons. “His generosity to the children of the State of Texas and his concern for the quality of education afforded Prairie View students is inspiring to us all.  Our students can learn a good deal from his humanity and the manner in which he lives and practices his values.”

The funds will be used to support The Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice at the University.  This Center will be proposed for approval to the Texas A&M Chancellor and Board of Regents and the Coordinating Board with the following proposed mission:

The Center positions itself as a multidisciplinary effort, drawing from an array of existing programs that can, together, facilitate greater understanding of racism and discrimination on the one hand and the need for justice on the other hand to strengthen and sustain civil society.  The center’s activities will include:

  • encouraging curricular innovation that helps students better understand how racial and other biases can impact their beliefs, affect their choices and shape their opportunities in life;
  • educational programs for the public on how to combat bias in their communities;
  • expert support for government and organizations seeking to understand how they can improve upon their efforts to assure a bias-free, inclusive environment;
  • training for individuals in leadership positions who wish to improve upon their leadership for inclusion; and
  • support for scholarship and research that adds to knowledge about new areas of injustice that are in need of urgent attention from policymakers and others (such as human trafficking).PVAMU President Ruth J. Simmons

Prairie View A&M University is a state-assisted, public, comprehensive land grant institution of higher education. It is dedicated to achieving excellence and relevance in teaching, research, and service and seeks to invest in programs and services that address issues and challenges affecting the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population of Texas and the larger society, including the global arena.

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Education

2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion

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On July 8, 2021 Harvey, Louisiana native Zaila Avant-garde celebrated a historic win, becoming the first African American winner in the Scripps National Spelling Bee tournament’s 96-year history. She won in the 18th round correctly spelling the word “murraya.” Though her win is one for the books, Zalia has already broken some glass ceilings. She also holds three Guinness World Records for her impressive basketball skills.

Since her historic win, 14 year old Zaila has already received several full-ride scholarship offers to attend college. Zaila has aspirations to play basketball for Harvard, play for the WNBA, work for NASA or coach in the NBA.

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Education

The Listening Tour

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KuriosEd is reaching out to faith leaders in San Antonio who have an interest in assisting their mission to drive broad awareness of the current educational system, and to align Black communities with the necessary resources and tools to achieve effective communal advocacy and equal access to education. Faith Leaders are usually the backbone of the community, and their input would be impactful. The event will take place over a complimentary breakfast at 10 am on July 16th in San Antonio. Interested attendees may register at http://kuriosed.org/listeningtour – KuriosEd wants to hear your voice! 

Additionally, on July 15th, from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, a separate focus group will take place just for parents. During this session, parents will have an opportunity to share information/concerns/feedback about their child’s/children’s education. Snacks/refreshments will be provided and participants will receive a token of appreciation ($50 Gift Card) just for attending the event. Again, for more information visit http://www.kuriosed.org/ or to register visit http://kuriosed.org/listeningtour.

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Education

Apple Pre-Ed Scholars Program

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As a highly regarded HBCU, Huston-Tillotson University (located in the heart of Austin, Texas) is proud to announce our Apple Pre-Ed Scholars Program! 

The Apple Pre-Ed Scholars Program, housed within Huston-Tillotson University’s African American Male Teacher Initiative funded by Apple Inc., provides one year of scholarship support to high-achieving HT freshmen who intend to pursue a career in Education.  

Scholars are selected on the basis of financial need, academic performance, demonstration of leadership, commitment to service, and dedication to pursuing a career in the Education field.  

Total award will cover all tuition, fees, room and board for an academic year. Scholarships are eligible for max three-year renewal, dependent on meeting scholarship requirements, persistence towards graduation, demonstrated financial need, and availability of funding.  

Who can apply? To be eligible to apply, applicants must:  

– Be a citizen, legal permanent resident, or national of the United States  

– Identify ethnically as African American, or Black  

– Identify as male – Classified as a Freshman  

– Be currently enrolled and in good standing at Huston-Tillotson University  

– Minimum 2.5 GPA on an unweighted 4.0 scale  

– ACT Composite Score of 18, or greater; or SAT score 900, or greater (Combined Evidence Based Reading and Writing, and Math)  

– Program of study in Education  

– Demonstrate a strong academic record and evidence of persistence  

– Exemplify leadership and demonstrate a passion for improving representation of underrepresented groups in the field of Education  

– Have demonstrated financial and unmet need as measured by the university 

Attached to this correspondence, you will find the Apple Pre-Ed Scholars Application as well as an informational flyer for announcement purposes. 

Questions may be directed to:   

Dr. Jennifer Miles, HTU’s Director of the Center of Academic Innovation; jpmiles@htu.edu 

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