Beyoncé celebrates black heritage with new scholarship, TSU senior claims first
A Texas Southern University senior is one of the first students to receive a new $25,000 scholarship from Beyoncé’s BEYGood Foundation.
In May, Jordan Davis decided to apply for the BeyGood scholarship but said doubted he would receive the award. About a month later though, he got the news. The Plano native was one of the eight finalists who had won the inaugural scholarship sponsored by the singer and Google.
“I was so ecstatic,” Davis said Monday. “It was a dream come true. It almost felt like Beyoncé had chosen me.”
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The Homecoming Scholars Award is focused on supporting students at historically black colleges and universities. It began with a $100,000 grant by Houston native Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. In April, Google.org, the charitable arm of the internet company, matched the grant doubling the number of scholarship recipients from four to eight.
Homecoming Scholars was inspired by Beyoncé’s performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Beyoncé, the first black woman in the festival’s 19-year history to be its headline performer, referenced HBCUs throughout her performance that incorporated a 100-piece all-black marching band and song selection.
“The show, with its homage to excellence in education, was a celebration of the homecoming weekend experience, the highest display of college pride,” according to the scholarship page on Beyoncé’s website.
“The energy-filled production put the spotlight on art and culture, mixing the ancient and the modern, which resonated masterfully through the marching band, performance art, choir, and dance. It was the impetus to mark her second scholarship program.”
As a part of the scholarship application, students were required to submit a 1,000-word essay about “one African or African-American thought leader in their field who has inspired them to achieve their goals.”
Davis wrote about David Satcher who served as U.S. Surgeon General in both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Satcher, who was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1993-1998 before being appointed as surgeon general by Clinton, is an “inspiring” figure to look up to, Davis said.
Davis, 20, is a senior healthcare administration major at Texas Southern. He said the scholarship will make it possible for him to pursue a career in healthcare administration. One day, he hopes to work for a home health agency, clinic or hospital as an administrator who helps underserved communities.
“I always cared about helping the community and contributing,” he said. “I like to work with people.”
In addition to maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher, he volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and is a member of TSU Honors College Enrichment, the Urban Gardening program, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and is also a counselor for Young Life Christian Fellowship.
Davis said he is grateful because the scholarship relieved him of a heavy financial burden, especially because he plans to pursue a master’s degree in organizational leadership and development.
“This scholarship took off the pressure to get loans or additional funds,” Davis said. “A master’s degree is not cheap and this makes the gap smaller.”
The seven other scholarship winners attend Bethune-Cookman University in Florida, Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., which is also the alma mater of Beyonce’s father, Mathew Knowles; Grambling State University in Louisiana; Morehouse College in Atlanta; Tuskegee University in Alabama; Wilberforce University in Ohio; and Xavier University in New Orleans.
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“Texas Southern University is proud of Mr. Davis and his academic achievement. His hard work and dedication has led to this prestigious award from one of Houston’s most recognizable natives,” TSU President Austin A. Lane said in a statement.
“We know that this honor will continue the mission of this university and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter to support excellence in higher education,” Lane wrote.
This summer, Davis is shadowing staff at a home healthcare facility in Plano. He will finish his last rotation this week with the financial director after getting a better understanding of the company.
He is passionate about pursuing higher education and will apply to graduate schools in the upcoming school year.
“I’m thankful for the BeyGood Foundation,” he said. “I’m glad I can be a representation and inspire people who have big dreams and are not sure if they can do it. I encourage them to just go for it.”