(L to R) Josh Rales, son of honoree Norman Rales; Mona Sutphen, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Aaron S. Williams, director, Peace Corps and Michael Mallory, executive director, Ron Brown Scholar Program
The Ron Brown Scholar Program Celebrates Excellence at its Inaugural Benefit,
Ronald H. Brown – The Journey Continues
Nearly four hundred supporters gathered on March 19, 2010 in Washington, DC for the inaugural Ronald H. Brown – The Journey Continues fundraiser and dinner to benefit the Ron Brown Scholar Program, an organization that provides deserving African-American students opportunities through scholarship and mentorship. Attendees paid tribute to the late secretary of commerce by honoring American leaders whose work embodies the spirit of late Secretary Brown’s life. The honorees included Mona Sutphen, White House deputy chief of staff for policy; Aaron Williams, director, US Peace Corps; and Norman Rales, businessman and philanthropist. Senator Harris Wofford attended the event and past colleague of Ron Brown and former Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater was emcee. A special presentation by former President Bill Clinton was also given to pay tribute.
“It was fantastic to see the many lives that Ron Brown touched through his leadership, his patriotism and his incredible compassion for others,” said Michael Mallory, executive director of the Ron Brown Scholar Program. “The program is so much more than an academic endeavor; it is a family in the truest sense of the word because we encourage alumni to mentor and advise the next class of scholars. Through this fundraiser, we are one step closer to being able to offer more deserving students the experiences and life-long connections that being a Ron Brown Scholar provides.”
The evening began with six Ron Brown Scholars speaking about leadership and commitment after the silent auction and reception. Following dinner, a live auction took place where items included an unpublished photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an autographed LeBron James jersey, a Cleveland Cavaliers playoff packet with hotel accommodations at the Ritz Carlton and a “be Nickelodeon president for a day” children’s packet. The program raised $250,000 through sold auction items and guest donations.
“The Ron Brown Scholar Program has been a tremendous stepping stone in realizing and fulfilling [my] dreams,” said Tomeka Suber, a senior of the MD-Ph.D program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Ron Brown Scholar class of 1998. “For that, I will always be grateful to the program and the opportunities it afforded me and the classes of scholars behind me.”
The Ron Brown Scholar Program was established in 1996 to accelerate the progress of African Americans into the mainstream of leadership in business, education, government and a wide spectrum of professions, while instilling a strong dedication to leadership and public service. A highly competitive program, the Ron Brown Scholar selection committee received over 6,000 applications for the class of 2010, but was only able to award 12 scholarships. With over 253 scholars selected and $800,000 awarded annually since its first class in 1997, the program has a 100 percent graduation rate, more than half attend Ivy League colleges and universities and most are in the top one or two percent of their graduating class. Graduating Scholars go on to outstanding careers in the arts, sciences and public service, and many more pursue professional degrees in law, medicine and business. In 2001, the program created the Ron Brown Scholar Alumni Association with the goal of sustaining the scholars’ connections and fostering continued excellence, leadership and service.
To learn more about the Ron Brown Scholar Program, apply or donate visit www.ronbrown.org or call 434-964-1588.