​ASU Alumnus Bequeaths $200,000 to Support His Alma Mater

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By Hazel Scott/ASU

­Kweku Ayangade, aka Donald Sutton, spent the majority of his life as a public servant working as a music educator. Now, his memory will live on in Alabama State University music education students of the future.

Ayangade has bequeathed $200,000 in property to Alabama State University to support the next generation of ASU scholars and ASU initiatives. A bequest is a gift made at death through one’s will or trust.

“Alabama State University has given so much to me, and I wanted to give back something to students coming in who need help. I like to have something in place for music students, especially band students. I  want to help students whose financial situation would prevent them from earning a degree,” Ayangade said.

Ayangade’s connection with Alabama State University dates back to 1955 when he enrolled in the College of Visual and Performing Arts in the music department.  He received his undergraduate degree in music in 1959.  

Ayangade said he was known as Donald Sutton when he attended ASU but changed his name to Kweku Ayangade after several trips to Africa.

“Kweku means I was born on Wednesday and Ayangade means I’m a musician….I decided to get rid of my slave name to a name with significant meaning,” he noted.

A native of Alexander City, Alabama, who now lives in Ohio, Ayangade was a student conductor of the legendary Bama State Collegians and was one of the first on-campus students to ride a Montgomery city bus after the boycott of the 1950s ended.

Ayangade, a retired band director whose career spanned more than 40 years, remembers his days on the ASU campus fondly and said the education he received at ASU prepared him for his career in music education.   

“I give Alabama State University credit for where I am today. I would not have made it if I had not attended Alabama State. I’m proud of the education that I received here.  I love my University. I recommend any music student to consider ASU.”

Ayangade credits his high school band director for introducing him to "all that ASU has to offer."

Ayangade, whose three children also attended ASU, encourages others to consider supporting Alabama State through planned giving.  “I am honored to help others as Alabama State initially helped me.”

Audrey Parks, ASU’s director of Development, said the University is extremely grateful for Ayangade’s generosity.

“Through his bequest, Mr. Ayangade’s legacy of generosity will live on,” Parks said.

If you would like to make a bequest to Alabama State University, contact Mrs. Parks at aparks@alasu.edu.