Black Alumni Network’s Legacy Endowment HornRaiser aims to raise $1M to send 4 Black students to UT with full ride

Kaushiki Roy



UT’s Black Alumni Network aims to fund four full-ride scholarships to Black students with their 90-day Legacy Endowment Hornraiser that began last month and hopes to gain $1 million.

Currently, the network has raised $85,000 from individual donors through their HornRaiser website and plans to send their first student to UT in 2022, said Major Thomas, president elect of the Black Alumni Network. The HornRaiser ends April 30, but people can still donate to the network indefinitely.

“UT has had a sort of a flatline when it comes to Black students over the past,” Thomas said. “And recognizing that, the Black Alumni Network has decided that we’ve got to do our part to try to make UT more accessible and more affordable for versatile Black students.”

Qualifications for the scholarship are loosely defined at the moment, said Yolanda Hall, Black Alumni Network president. Besides a minimum 2.5 GPA, the process for selecting students will be based on individual achievements and community impact, Hall said.

“We certainly want to make University more affordable and accessible,” Thomas said. “But we also want to get the most talented Black students out there to consider UT.”

Chuck Harris, executive director of Texas Exes, said that raising awareness about the new scholarship campaign was made more difficult by the pandemic.

“Typically, we would do a big event like a dinner once a year, and that’s where this thing would get kicked off,” Harris said, “But as you know, events are very challenging now; we can’t really do events, particularly of size, so I think they’ve pivoted to a more virtual version for this campaign.”

Hall and Thomas said the largest portion of donors were former graduates, and that Black alumni had donated a total of $12 million to different projects that the network set up in the past years.

Harris said the Black Alumni Network also provides support for Black students after graduation and focuses on keeping them connected with the University as alumni as well as providing networking opportunities.

“In addition to raising money for scholarships, they are really instrumental in recruiting Black students to University, so this is about representation on campus,” Harris said.