Mother Creates Scholarship in Memory of Daughter
Cara Janeal Walton
By Hazel Scott/ASU
A new scholarship at Alabama State University aims to keep the memory and dreams of an ASU student alive and help others follow in her footsteps.
Patsy Morgan Walton of Memphis, Tenn., has established the Cara Janeal Walton Memorial Scholarship in honor of her only child who passed away in February 2020. The $500 per-semester scholarship will be awarded to a deserving out-of-state junior/senior Criminal Justice major with a 3.25 GPA, a Criminal Justice faculty reference and evidence of active campus involvement.
"I want to help other students on their journey as my child was helped. She loved God, her family/friends, and her dear Alabama State University. So, it is befitting to honor her life with a scholarship to encourage others in her major to find their path, pursue it and be passionate about it,” Walton stressed.
Walton noted that she has also started a scholarship in her daughter’s name in Memphis.
“She loved her hometown. So, on her birthday this year, I also established a scholarship for students in Memphis who are attending an HBCU. I did a post on my Facebook page asking people to donate to the fund.”
Walton said her daughter was very active in the classroom and multiple organizations, including the NAACP, Collegiate 100 (Chief of Staff), Hospitality Operations Student Team (HOST), ASPIRE Mentor, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, Pre-Law Society Vice President, Student Government Association, Judicial Branch-Associate Justice, and the Beta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
“During her four years at Alabama State University, she left an indelible mark in the hearts of those she encountered, especially in the lives of those she met and formed forever bonds with,” Walton emphasized.
But more than her activities, her mom and friends remember her laugh and passion.
“She had a laugh that was contagious and her passion was intentional for ‘righting’ some of the world’s wrongs, especially related to children,” Walton noted. “In Criminal Justice, she found her path that would aid her in that pursuit.”
Cara, her mom said, was a true intellectual, and was articulate, loyal, curious, and competitive.
“Cara was a posthumous Magna Cum Laude graduate. At the time, she had met all requirements to graduate in May 2020,” she said. “President Ross presented her degree to me.”
Walton said Cara, who attended Catholic schools all her life, was determined to go to an HBCU, even when her mother wasn’t on board with the idea. But that all changed for Walton, who did not attend an HBCU, when her daughter enrolled at Alabama State.
“Cara told us she needed to go to college with her folks. When she landed on ASU campus she said, ’Mommy, this is home. It’s like a ‘Different World,’ the TV show. After I got used to the Alabama State University experience that first semester, I realized that … she was right, this was the best place for her. She found her niche there and I knew they were invested in educating my daughter. Their goal was to get her graduated and not just to show up. I had a whole different take on it after that,” said Walton. “I’m fully invested in the HBCU experience.”
Walton said her daughter’s desire was to truly leave a positive mark wherever she went.
“Her legacy will hopefully inspire other people to go down the same road that she was starting,” Walton said.