First-Generation Students to Benefit from Alumnus’ $155K Planned Giving

News Date
guiney photo


 By Hazel Scott/ASU

 A $155,000-plus planned gift from a new member of Alabama State University’s Marion Society has given access to education to first-generation students.

 “I am a first-generation high school and college graduate and a daughter of a Haitian immigrant. Alabama State definitely changed the trajectory of my life and my family’s life. When I thought about my estate planning, I knew I wanted to include Alabama State University to establish a legacy for future first- generation students like me,” said Dr. Wislene John Guiney, a certified School Improvement Specialist in Atlanta.

 The needs-based scholarship, Guiney noted, will provide one  male and one female  $2,500 each year until the scholarship funds are depleted. Recipients must have a GPA of 2.8 or above.

 “I hope this scholarship will afford young men and women the opportunity to break barriers, generational curses with their families. I hope the recipients of this scholarship will strive for excellence to achieve their educational and career goals. When they reach the point of graduating from ASU and becoming a contributing member of society, I hope they never  forget ASU, that they will reach back to help other students,” Guiney said.

 ASU Love

 The 1997 graduate in Special Education credits her education from ASU for much of her success.

 “The foundation that ASU laid as an education major, being able to learn from my professors and the experiences I received interning and completing observation hours within the Montgomery Public School System—all of those together helped establish my philosophy as an educator and to pay it forward to help other students to be successful in school and to achieve their career goals,” said Guiney.

 Guiney, who was actively involved in the ASU Gospel Choir and the Student Education Association, said she has fond memories of her days on campus.

 “One of the fondest memories I have of ASU was seeing snow for the first time in 1993 while living in Bibb Graves Hall. As a freshman from south Florida, I had never seen snow before. So, being on campus with the snow falling was one of the greatest memories that I have of ASU.  Attending football games, traveling, going to the Magic City Classics and the Mobile Classics are high on the list as well,”  she said.  “I’ll never forget Alabama State.”

 Guiney has an extensive history in academics: she was a principal in the DeKalb County School District for 3 years, worked in the Atlanta Public Schools for 10 years, was a school administrator in Atlanta for 5 years, and served as an instructional mentor for K-12 for 5 years in the Greater Atlanta area. 

 She has received several awards and honors during her career, including Honor Graduate in Doctorate, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science Programs; Dewitt Wallace Reader’s Digest Scholarship Recipient;  Army Reserves Achievement Medal; National Dean’s List Registry; and Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education Semi-Finalist.

 Guiney, who served in the military for eight years, encourages alumni and friends of the University who are thinking about their estate planning and their legacy to consider giving to O' Mother Dear.

 “That should be a priority because where we are today is because of the founding members, the Marion Nine, who founded ASU which afforded me, us the opportunity to achieve the level of success that we have,” she pointed out.  “There should not be any amount too small to give. What you give could impact the lives of one, two, or a hundred students or more. So, giving back is a way to continue the legacy and to honor our ancestors.”

 Audrey Parks, Director of Development, said Guiney's gift will make a lasting impact on ASU and its students.

 "​Dr Guiney has made a significant gift to ASU to ​support​ Alabama State University's mission and goals,”​ Parks said. ​ “We are grateful for Dr. Guiney’s 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