UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, delivered an overwhelming surprise to Ashley Booth, a deserving student at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. As part of the 35th annual UNCF An Evening of Stars fundraising show, UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax arranged for the first of three ten thousand dollar checks to be awarded the freshman, who plans to become a veterinarian.
During the segment, Booth was surprised with the initial ten thousand dollar check from UNCF followed a generous matching check of ten thousand dollars from the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation. Sony Pictures Television, the parent company of the Queen Latifah Show, closed the deal when another ten thousand dollar award was added, bringing the generous total to thirty thousand dollars.
“Against the costs of tuition, room, board and books totaling just over $25,000, Ashley Booth is an almost ideal representative of the college financial aid challenges that are facing contemporary college students,” said Lomax. “
Despite doing everything right – earning great grades in high school that landed her a spot at Johnson C. Smith, an outstanding UNCF member institution where she is pursuing a STEM degree in Biology – Ashley and her mother are required to take out a significant amount of student loans. They have already assumed $24,000 of debt for her education and by the time Ashley graduates she could be $100,000 or more in debt. These scholarships will go a long way to help alleviate some of the burden they will assume to assure Ashley gets the education she deserves.”
Queen Latifah asked Ashley and her mother, who were seated in the audience, to come up on stage to speak with her about being a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) student. Ashley, who attended Irvington High School in Irvington New Jersey, where Queen Latifah also attended, was unaware that she had been brought to Los Angeles to receive a scholarship.
Watch UNCF Scholarship recipient Ashley Booth’s big moment:
The segment aired on Monday, March 31 and Ashley’s story will also be highlighted on UNCF’s fundraising telethon UNCF An Evening of Stars. UNCF An Evening of Stars® will air nationally on the BET Network, Sunday, April 13 at 10p/9c and in syndication on May 31 and June 1 (check your local listings for times). Tickets to attend UNCF An Evening of Stars, which tapes in Atlanta on April 6th at the Atlanta Civic Center, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. For information regarding VIP ticket packages, visit uncf.org/aeos.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities.