‘Tis still the season to celebrate unexpected gifts, so says the Southern University Alumni Los Angeles Chapter, which received over $10,500 in scholarship donations during its recent holiday mixer, held at the Alpha Phi Alpha Foundation Building.
With the sounds of The Neville Brothers, Rebirth Brass Band and DJ Jubilee pumping throughout the Alpha House, guests stopped Second Lining, taking pictures with classmates and feasting on Red Beans & Rice to hear Chapter President Camille Mayo recognize three scholarship donors. Southern University alumni Edmond and Lenora Dugas, Co-Founders of Long Beach-based nonprofit Star Achievers Dollars for Scholars, donated $10,000. Edison Wheeler, proprietor of popular Los Angeles restaurant La Louisanne, donated $500. Wheeler’s mother attended Southern University.
The Dugases revealed the 1993 creation of Star Achievers Dollars for Scholars was a tribute to two people who hold special places in their hearts.
“The Chapter of Star Achievers Dollars for Scholars was founded in memory of our 12-year-old daughter, Adrienne J. Dugas, who passed away suddenly,” said Edmond Dugas, an Alexandria, La., native who received his bachelor’s in biochemistry from Southern in 1969. “It was also founded in honor of the late Pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church in Long Beach, the Rev. Henry Ford, who baptized Adrienne,” according to Lenora Dugas. The Bordelonville, La., native received her bachelor’s in vocational home economics from Southern in 1970.
The Dugases noted their family and the Ford Family united to continue to keep their loved ones’ memories alive, adopting the Rev. Ford’s slogan, “If I can help somebody as I travel along, then my living shall not be in vain.”
Reflecting on that slogan, they also revealed why donating to the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter’s scholarship program was a natural fit for them. “As graduates of SU and recognizing that it was SU that gave us our start, we wanted to help support other students to attend this great university,” the Dugases said.
Southern University Alumni Los Angeles Chapter members expressed surprise and appreciation for the scholarship donations received during the mixer. Dyvar Anderson, Scholarship Committee Chairperson, said, “I am ecstatic and grateful for the donation offered to our chapter’s scholarship fund as we strive to inspire and transform the lives of young people who want to secure a college education at Southern University Baton Rouge!” Anderson, a St. Francisville, La., native, received her bachelor’s in business management from Southern in 1984.
Chapter Vice President Douglas Robinson, a Columbia, La., native who received his bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from Southern in 1998, said he immediately thought to himself, “This is a Jaguar-style Christmas that’s going to make some students very happy!”