Class of 1968 Pays It Forward with Endowed Scholarship Fund
You could not miss them. Donned in the traditional gold suit jackets of the Golden Class, the Class of 1968 stood out in the crowd of thousands during Prairie View A&M University’s 2018 Homecoming Week. And while they came to celebrate the past, the future was very much on their minds.
“It is tradition for each class to raise philanthropic support for the university to commemorate their fiftieth anniversary—their golden class year,” explains Evelyn Collier Holloway, Chair of the Class of 1968 “Golden Anniversary” Steering Committee. “We want to support the next generation of students and pay it forward.”
The Class held several fundraisers over two years to engage alumni, many of whom had not given to the university previously but made their first gift when called to step forward for students. Together, the Class raised more than $205,000 to establish the Class of 1968 Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“Prairie View A&M University is one of the most venerable HBCUs in the country because of the incredible care that alumni give to the institution year after year,” states President Ruth J. Simmons. “The gifts of the mighty Class of 1968 are a true reflection of that care, and I am so very proud of and grateful for their generosity.”
The Class is not done, however, and intends to secure additional donations to help more students. On Homecoming Day alone, the Class raised $9,500 to enhance the scholarship fund and additional donations for Athletics.
“The opportunity to give back means a lot to my classmates and me,” shares Patricia Robbins Nelson, Secretary of the Class of 1968 “Golden Anniversary” Steering Committee. “When we were students, Prairie View gave us so many opportunities, and now we are a part of the exciting future of our dear alma mater.”
She continues, “The Class of 1968 Endowment is our contribution to the continued growth and success of students as they become Productive Panthers.”
Engineers, nurses, teachers, doctors, administrators, athletes—Productive Panthers, the graduates of the Class of 1968 mirror the successful alumni that came before and after them. Yet, they are set apart by the era in which they entered and exited the university, witnessing a country in change: the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and Assassination of Martin Luther King.
“These changes impacted the lives of our classmates, their families, and our communities,” says Patricia. “We never forgot the positive role the university played in our lives then and now—offering us opportunities to be successful in our respective careers and communities.”
Throughout the two-year fundraising campaign and celebration, classmates renewed old friendships and established new ones through a number of activities including participation in the 2018 spring commencement and social events.
It was also important to the Class to identify veterans and recognize them for their service. As part of their reunion activities, the Class held a ceremony presided by Captain Paul Mathews ’68 in honor of veterans at the Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Houston, Texas.
“We are so thankful to all of the classmates who participated, gave, and volunteered,” states Evelyn. “By honoring our past, we are helping to build a bright future for Prairie View.”