Non-Alumni Establishes $50,000 Scholarship for ASU STEM Students

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By Hazel Scott/ASU

Philanthropists and attorneys LaBarron and Lori Boone are a testament that supporters can be committed Alabama State University donors without being alumni.

One of the couple’s missions is to make the world a better place by working to improve education. In that quest, Boone presented President Quinton T. Ross, Jr., a $20,000 check on Wednesday, March 9, to go toward the LaBarron and Lori Boone Scholarship they created. The Alabama natives have committed to investing $50,000 over the next three years to give ASU students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) a chance at a real seat at the table.  They also established a scholarship in 2019 for $15,000 and decided to recommit to ASU students with this new scholarship.

“My wife and I wanted to provide scholarships to students who have the aptitude but not the financial means to pay for college…someone helped me and I felt it was incumbent upon me to do the same,” Boone said.

Boone noted the scholarship is focused on STEM students. “I’m an engineer and a lawyer. So, my focus is engineering inside the STEM programs. I believe that’s what’s going to elevate our kids, that’s the way the world is going, and with a STEM education, we can go anywhere. Where the world is going is where you will be the most successful,” Boone said.  

A graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law and now a partner at the Beasley Allen law firm, Boone said he and his wife are inspired by Alabama State University’s mission and vision and want to help move the University another 150 years forward by investing in its students.

“One of my passions is children. They are the future. My future was determined and based on education…Education changed my life. I came from a meager background and I could have otherwise been left on the other side of the track. I want to empower kids who otherwise would not have the opportunity…So, my goal is to empower ASU, empower our community and empower children who are otherwise overlooked. They will be the next great leaders of this world,” Boone noted.

Boone said more people should invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  “It came to me one day that we got to stop asking others and help ourselves…HBCUs are the lifeline, lifeblood of the black community and they are struggling. The ones who have the means tend to overlook it. That’s where our support needs to go.”

The couple may not be ASU alumni, but there is a family connection. “My stepmother graduated from here and my dad went to Tuskegee. They went to the Turkey Day Classic all my life,” said Boone.

The third year of the LaBarron and Lori Boone Scholarship falls on the 100th year of the Turkey Day Classic.

The Boones’ commitment to the University was spotlighted when the institution selected Boone to serve on the Alabama State University 2011 and 2013 Presidential Search Committee, and his wife served for 15 years on the Blacks and Entertainment Board under the direction of Dr. Tommie Stewart, former dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

 “We have been supporters of the University for the past 10 or 15 years,” Boone said. "We hope to continue that support."

President Ross said the University is grateful to the Boones for their leadership and recent gift benefiting Alabama State University students.

“We are thankful to attorney Boone and his family. They are strong supporters of Alabama State University and all the many programs that we have here on campus. To receive this gift reaffirms their commitment to our mission of providing students an educational opportunity of a lifetime here at Alabama State University. We are so thankful and humbled by their generosity.  The Boones are serious about impacting lives through education, and we are blessed to be on this journey with them,” Ross emphasized.