West Virginia State University has received a commitment from a Detroit businessman of $250,000 for the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Program.
William F. Pickard, chairman and CEO of Detroit-based Global Automotive Alliance LLC, a consortium of automotive-related companies with operations in 12 states, made the commitment, which was announced March 5.
The Scholars Program is named in honor of WVSU alumnus Damon J. Keith, who has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 1977. In addition to the Scholars Program, a new residence hall currently under construction at WVSU is being named in honor of Judge Keith.
"I am making this gift for two reasons," Pickard said in a news release issued by WVSU. "First, your University has chosen to recognize my dear friend and mentor, the Honorable Damon J. Keith, with a newly constructed building named in his honor as well as a scholarship fund that bears his name. Second, I have been so impressed with Dr. Brian O. Hemphill's leadership as President of the University."
The new Keith Scholars Program is designed to support scholarships for students from Detroit area public schools. The scholarship, renewable for up to four years as long as requirements are met, covers room and board, tuition and fees and textbooks.
Students chosen as Keith Scholars must possess a record of academic excellence while exhibiting a social-equality perspective of the world that exemplifies a personal commitment to selfless deeds, scholarship and love for humankind, according to WVSU.