PVAMU Sports Hall Of Famer Gives $100,000 To Keep Students On Track
“If you’re lost,” says Charles A. Ingram ’67. “I can find you.” A private investigator, policeman, fireman, minister, and educator, Charles never backs down from a challenge. He seeks them.
“Challenge is motivation,” states Charles. “Challenges allow me to open my mind to new things. It’s how you learn and evolve—that is why I have pursued so many careers.”
Recruited to be on Prairie View A&M University’s first track and field team in 1962, Charles faced many challenges when he came to college. He was not a strong student initially, making Fs and Cs. And, as a result of his poor grades, he was suspended from the track and field team.
“When life pressures you, you have to have something to hold on to,” says Charles. Committed to rejoining the track team, Charles quickly learned to study, spending countless hours in the library, and soon he was back on the track setting national and local records. “Track brought me to Prairie View when my high school friends were running the streets, and it also helped me to stay in school. It gave me a second chance.”
In 1999, the university inducted Charles into the PVAMU Sports Hall of Fame, and today you can often find him on The Hill encouraging students to overcome their own hurdles to stay on track. “There’s always a way,” Charles tells students. “If you lean on the crutch, it will break. Accept the challenge. Trials make you strong and you can build upon that strength to be prosperous.”
In addition to giving his time to motivate students, Charles also supports the university through philanthropic contributions. He donated $50,000 to benefit the new Panther Stadium where the offensive position meeting room is named in his honor. And recently Charles established the Charles Andrew Ingram Endowed Fund with another $100,000 commitment to the university.
The Fund will provide scholarships to students majoring in health and kinesiology or minoring in African American Studies. “I give so that students will know that they are loved,” states Charles whose gifts to the Ingram Endowed Fund will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the university’s scholarship matching gift program.
“We are grateful for Mr. Ingram’s steadfast commitment to Prairie View A&M University,” says President Ruth J. Simmons. “Scholarship support is one of the most profound ways alumni can help transform the lives of the students who follow in their footsteps. Mr. Ingram is paving a way for students to succeed today and in perpetuity.”
Charles often tells students in need of encouragement to attend a graduation. “Watching students graduate is pure motivation—to be a witness of the culmination of their hard work and sacrifices is an honor and a joy. It’s what I desire for all PV students.”
Humble and quiet, Charles is quick to say that he is just an average man, an average man led by his faith in God to give. “Without Christ in my life, I would not have made it,” reflects Charles. “I made it, and I want others to make it, too.”