College of Education Students to Receive Financial Help through $20,000 Planned Gift

News Date
owes, juanita

By Hazel Scott/ASU

Alabama State University’s die-hard alumna, Jaunita McClain Owes, decided to help ASU students escape the possibility of graduating in debt through her planned gift.  

Owes, who is a faithful monthly donor, has established a $20,000 needs-based scholarship to help College of Education students address some of their college-related financial needs.

“I have always wanted to give to ASU but never had the resources to do what I should have been doing all these years. But I’m retired now and at a point in my life where I can,” she said proudly.

Scholarship applicants, Owes noted, must be from Montgomery and have at least a 2.75 GPA. 

“I say a 2.75 GPA because students who have a 3.0 GPA and above get scholarships,” she said. “I want this for a student who is in need of help to finish school….I may not ever know the person who receives this gift, but at least they will have an opportunity.”

ASU Love

Owes, an ASU 2020 Spirit of Tullibody Award recipient, earned both her undergraduate degree in English and Library Science and her Master of Education degree in Library Educational Media at ASU.

“ASU gave many of us the tools and support we needed to become the people we are today. Beyond earning a degree, that’s what college, especially ASU, gives to its students—the space and freedom to pursue their passions and grow both personally and professionally,” she said.

She recalled the nurturing professors who constantly pushed her to achieve her goals.  “I wouldn’t have made it in life financially had it not been for the education that I received at ASU. My professors believed in me…Alabama State University had a lot to do with my success.”

Owes, who retired from the Montgomery City-County Public Library after 27 years as its first African-American director, has received numerous awards and recognition for her community work, including the Excellence in Mentorship award. She is a member of ASU’s National Alumni Association, the Health Services Inc. Board Chairperson and a member of the Montgomery chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.  In her more than 40-year career span as a librarian, she has worked at a junior college library, the public library and at an elementary school library.

Owes’ community outreach extends to visiting the ASU campus to spend time with students and volunteering at the library.

“I love to share my passion of reading with young African-American youth at the library, and reaching out to ASU youth to inspire them to continue their academic journey,” Owes said.  

Owes has a deep connection to ASU. “I graduated from ASU, so did my husband, a two-time ASU graduate who works in the special education department at the University. My daughter and two sisters and a brother also graduated from Bama State.”

Giving Back

Owes is proud to say that when her Class of 1973 met in May for their Golden Anniversary, her class presented ASU with a historic check of more than $250,000, the largest gift from a Golden Class in recent history. The monies will support scholarships and strategic initiatives of the University.

“Our class wanted to raise the bar so people behind us will have something to work toward,” she said. “My planned gift is part of the Golden Class’s donation…It was important for me and my classmates to leave something for ASU.”

Owes said that it’s important for alumni and friends of ASU “to give some serious thoughts” to supporting the University.

“It doesn’t matter how much each alumni gives, but the number of alumni donating will show that they look back on their time at the University fondly and are grateful for the experience they had within its walls,” Owes remarked.  “I think it's important to reach back and bring somebody forward. I’ve lived by that all my working life…It’s so important that we help our HBCUs, especially O’ Mother Dear.”

Audrey Parks, ASU’s Director of Development, said Owes’ gift will make a lasting impact on ASU and its students.  “We are grateful for Mrs. Owes’ investment in the University.”

Parks noted that private gifts of this nature from alumni and friends are also used to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and students and provide funding for instruction and research.

How to Give

For information on how you can support Alabama State University, contact the Office of Development at 334-229-5620 or