By Hazel Scott/ASU
Dedicated Alabama State University alumni, Michael and Sandra Washington, wanted to help college students at their alma mater avoid college debt.
The Washingtons have pledged $15,000 to the school to create scholarships for deserving students, with students in the College of Education getting first preference.
“That is something that is very important for us to do,” said Michael Washington. “We want to help students to alleviate some of their fears of not being able to finish college because of debt. These students will become the change agents of tomorrow, and we need to give them support.”
Sandra Washington said a lot of young people in Alabama and throughout the country are in need right now.
“Every bit someone gives can open the door for someone else. This pledge is our way of making a long-lasting impact,” she said. “We are so happy that we are in a position to be able to give back, and we plan to continue.”
To apply for the scholarship, students must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA and actively participate in community service opportunities.
The Washingtons’ love for their alma mater, combined with their philanthropic spirit, resulted in a scholarship created 10 years ago, The Washington Crawford Scholarship, for ASU students through Sandra Washington’s sorority.
“Not only do we give individually, we give through our company, Division 12 Consultants. We provide scholarships through the company’s name,” Michael Washington said. “We’ve been doing this the last couple of years.”
Though neither received scholarships to attend ASU, they said they live by the credos, “To whom much is given, much is expected” and “Always Help Each Other.”
The couple’s paths crossed when they were students at George Washington Carver High School. When they started to look at colleges after graduating high school, the two decided to attend an HBCU. They selected Alabama State University and are thankful that they did.
“Along with a great education, my fondest memory is when at freshman orientation, I met two young sisters from Birmingham. From that day up until now, we are still the best of friends. Our friendship has lasted over 50 years,” Sandra Washington said.
The Washingtons, who “bleed black and gold,” are three generations strong at ASU.
“My brother attended ASU, my wife’s mother attended there, my sister and our youngest daughter graduated from there,” Michael Washington said. “We have another daughter who graduated elsewhere, but it was from an HBCU also.”
Sandra Washington recalls that her first job after graduating was as an instructor at ASU. “I worked there for two years.”
The Washingtons are adamant that giving back changes the trajectory of students’ lives by giving them the opportunity to realize their dreams.
“Alabama State University and its students are incredibly important to us,” said Sandra Washington. “If you are in a position where you can reach back, find it in your heart to give and support these students.”
Michael Washington believes those who passed through the halls of Alabama State University should give back if they can.
“I’m a firm believer in giving back to ASU, my college. I received so much…during my years there. I want others to reap the rewards that I received. It’s because of that, that if we can, all of us should give back to our alma mater; if not in the gift of money, a gift of time. By giving, we help O’ Mother Dear to continue to grow so it can be around for another 150 plus years. We have successful graduates all over the world, and it’s because of ASU. So, for those who can, please give back to the college who gave you so much.”
The couple are proud to say when their classmates met in May for their Golden Anniversary, their class presented ASU with a historic check of more than $250,000, the largest gift from a Golden Class in recent history.
"The money will support scholarships and strategic initiatives at the University," they both said.
How to Give
For information on how you can support Alabama State University, contact the Office of Development at 334-229-5620 or firstname.lastname@example.org