Joyner donation to Alcorn State to help ‘average students’, Bristow says

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2000

A more than $270,000 donation to Alcorn State University will help &uot;average students&uot; pay for needed school supplies, Alcorn President Dr. Clinton Bristow said.

The money is the result of the month-long fund-raising drive by the university and the Tom Joyner Foundation, a non-profit organization begun by radio host Tom Joyner.

&uot;Elated, elated, elated,&uot; is how Bristow described his reaction to the funds.

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&uot;The Tom Joyner Foundation is to be commended for showing the kind of interest it is in historically black colleges and universities,&uot; he said.

The Tom Joyner Foundation is designed to help students continue their education at black colleges by providing money directly to the institution for student scholarships based on financial need, academic records and circumstances involving the student’s application.

Each month, the nationally syndicated &uot;Tom Joyner Morning Show&uot; chooses a different historically black college on which to focus its fund-raising attention. Alcorn was chosen for February.

Because the &uot;Tom Joyner Morning Show&uot; is nationally syndicated, Bristow said, the university’s request had a larger audience than usual.

&uot;We got a lot of national publicity that would have cost us a million dollars,&uot; he said. &uot;For 29 days we were in front of 7 million listeners.&uot;

Bristow said the university will use the money created by the donations for scholarships for students &uot;in a special category.&uot;

&uot;They don’t necessarily have to be dean’s list students,&uot; Bristow said. &uot;They just need to have an unmet dire need.&uot;

For example, a student who runs out of money for needed software for a statistics class could apply for scholarship money to help cover the cost, he said.

&uot;It becomes a unique pool of money that gives us another way of attracting students&uot; – and keeping them in school, Bristow said.

To date, Alcorn leads the other colleges in money raised in connection with the foundation.

The largest donation came from 1933 Alcorn graduate David Wilson Wilburn of Yazoo County, who gave more than $101,000 to the university during the &uot;Tom Joyner Morning Show&uot; in February.

&uot;I wasn’t fortunate to have children, so my wife and I just automatically helped people,&uot; Wilburn said. &uot;Even after I retired I felt that it was always good to help those in need, and giving back to my college was something that I’ve always done.&uot;