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Tavis Smiley establishes scholarship fund
By Yussuf J. Simmonds (Managing Editor)
Published May 13, 2010


Sheryl Flowers
Sheryl Flowers

Citing the occasion as the need to carry on exemplary work, the popular talk show host presented the first check for Sheryl Flowers scholarship fund to Clark Atlanta University in honor of his late producer.

By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor

It was a morning to mix and mingle, and Tavis Smiley, the nationally-syndicated, talk show host was there to mix and mingle with his guests. Though the occasion was somewhat solemn, he reflected on the reason for the gathering. Smiley was about to present a check for $25,000 to Aristide J. Collins of Clark Atlanta University in honor of his loyal assistant and producer of his show, Sheryl Flowers, who had recently passed, and to explain why she deserved the posthumous recognition.

He used the occasion also to highlight the fifth anniversary of his show and to emphasize “I was the first person of color with his own show on “public radio.” With all of the Black radio hosts and DJs all over the nation, that seemed incredible but the significance of being the first still has a somewhat historic sound to it. And as he continued, the same goes for his nightly show on PBS (public television)–he also broke that barrier as the first.

According to Smiley, just as he left BET, he left NPR and is now with PRI headquartered in Minneapolis and he can now be heard on over 100 stations. And in commemorating the scholarship of his lat producer, Smiley emphasized the need to institutionalized good work in the Black community. As a matter of fact, he noted that by establishing the Sheryl Flowers Scholarship, it was one of the way to institutionalize her work as his producer.

“Sheryl’s life calling was public radio,” said Smiley. “I would not be a television host on PBS if it had not been for Sheryl’s vision and incredible insight to help us connect with public radio listeners first. I am who I am in public broadcasting, in part, because of Sheryl. Through her genius, she had a unique way of guiding and teaching others. This scholarship at Clark Atlanta University preserves her legacy.”

To buttress Smiley contribution to the scholarship fund, the university promised to match the amount making it $50,000, a great way to create a lasting legacy.

And at present, the Tavis Smiley Show is nationally syndicated.


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