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Dempsey Travis

Scholarships awarded by Mittie, Moselynne and Dempsey J. Travis Foundation

Posted: 10/03/2013
Seventeen Roosevelt University undergraduates who have demonstrated academic achievement, a need for financial assistance and an interest in giving back to their communities have been awarded scholarships by the Mittie, Moselynne and Dempsey J. Travis Foundation.

The scholarship winners, all who live in Chicago, include: seniors Danielle Adams, Teodora Monoski, Brenden Paradies and Curtis Strong; juniors Gabrielle Amyx, Howard Brown, Rebecca Mendez and Odette Ojeda;  sophomores Sergio Alvarez, Ashanti McCall, Bryant Riley and Jazmine Terrell-Harley; and incoming freshmen Desire Miller, Kendal Moore, Valerie Patino, Chinanita Leslie and Corey Lanier.

“We applaud the foundation for reaching out to help Roosevelt students who have great potential but would not be able to afford college, achieve their dreams and become our future community leaders without these scholarships,” said Patrick Woods, vice president for institutional advancement at Roosevelt.

“The scholarships are making a difference in these students’ lives and are giving them an opportunity to make something of themselves – just as Dempsey Travis was able to do after getting his start and a college degree from Roosevelt University.”

An author, real estate entrepreneur, jazz musician and civil rights pioneer, the late Travis (pictured above), who died July 2, 2009, was a 1949  alumnus who attended Roosevelt with his friend, the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, and went on to write nine books, including Harold  The People’s Mayor: An Authorized Biography of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. One of Roosevelt’s first and best known alumni, Travis was a Chicago community leader and social justice advocate who supported Washington in his successful bid to become Chicago mayor.

Travis received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree honoris causa from the University in 2008 and his estate donated a large collection of the books that Travis authored and/or published, which today are part of the Dempsey Travis Collection kept at Roosevelt’s Murray Green Library.
   
The students who were selected competitively to receive $15,000 scholarships in 2013-14 from the Travis foundation, based on grade point averages, resumes, letters of recommendation and personal essays, are currently reading books written by Travis including:  Why I Refuse to Learn to Fail; The Louis Armstrong Odyssey; The Autobiography of Black Politics; The FBI Files: On the Tainted and the Damned; and Views from the Back of the Bus During WWII and Beyond.

“When I get my degree from Roosevelt I hope to help in the fight against drug addiction, crime and disparity, and I believe that I can be an advocate who is not afraid to reach down and pull my community up one person at a time,” said Miller, one of the scholarship recipients and a resident of Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood.

“In my first few weeks of college, Roosevelt has been like a family to me,” added Kendal Moore, an incoming freshman, pre-med student and scholarship winner.

 “I want to be able to get my degree and pursue my dream of becoming a medical doctor so that I can help others, but I wouldn’t be able to do any of it, or even get started at all, without this scholarship,” said Moore, who hopes to be an example showing youth in spite of circumstances that “you can be anything you want to be.”

The 17 scholarship winners will remember Travis during a monthly fall seminar including capstone projects that will be overseen by Roosevelt University Assistant Professor of Sociology Alfred Defreece.

“We are fortunate to have a diverse and talented group of Travis scholars with interests that range from biochemistry and clinical psychology to marketing health psychology and teaching,” said Defreece.

“Our shared goal is for these student and their projects to demonstrate that all fields advance based on a plurality of perspectives.  With the projects we will be living and creating work that not only remembers Dempsey Travis but which also celebrates our diversity and differences,” he said.