Update - The newsletter for the University of Memphis

February 2010 Briefs

Bygone Days, The 1940s had its share of ups and downs with celebrity visit, WW II. Read more

Brain Drain? Healthy lunch habits can mean a more productive day at the office. Read more

Ring Container Technologies Inc. has made a $300,000 gift to establish the Ring Companies Professorship Fund in the Herff College of Engineering at the U of M. The Professorships will allow the Herff College to retain highcaliber faculty.

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Scholarship set up by Gates beneftis U of M students

By: Greg Russell

Kyndra Outlaw
Kyndra Outlaw
Never in a thousand years did Kyndra Outlaw figure she had a chance to attend the University of Memphis. But thanks to the generosity of one of the wealthiest couples in the world, Outlaw is pursing her dream at the U of M.

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) program, a part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is enabling Outlaw and two other students to attend the University by providing them with financial aid.

GMS scholarships are awarded to minority undergraduate students across the country who demonstrate academic excellence and strong leadership skills. It is administered by the UNCF.

“My college experience would definitely be different without the scholarship because I would not be able to attend the University of Memphis,” said Outlaw, a home furnishings merchandising major from Starkville, Miss. “With this scholarship, I have the financial support that I need to attend college and not worry about any expenses. I can focus on academics.”

Outlaw said she has never met Bill Gates, but has a message for him.

“I would share with him the impact that the scholarship has had on my life so that he could see the power behind his work. I would ask him questions about his goals for me personally as a scholar. I would hope that he would challenge me so that I can see his expectations to make sure I am achieving my fullest potential.

“Just mentioning that I am a Gates Millennium Scholar is an attention-getter because of the high standard and prestige of this scholarship. When applying for leadership positions, scholarships and internships, I feel like this scholarship opens doors for these opportunities.”

Outlaw, president of the U of M Student Activities Council, said GMS also offers a support system.

“It has a networking and mentoring program which opens door to other professionals and scholars. Without this scholarship, I would not have met these people. The networking and mentoring provides me with connections to professionals throughout the program and all around the nation,” said the junior, who minors in real estate and who plans to get a master’s degree in public health or education.

Sherenda Moss and Emanuel Toney are the other two U of M students in the GMS program.

Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in the mid-1970s, and his wife, Melinda, set up the Gates Foundation partly to “focus on improving public education.” Last December, the Foundation awarded $90 million to Memphis City Schools to help improve teacher effectiveness. It has donated billions of dollars to various causes around the world.

Since its inception 10 years ago, more than 14,000 students have benefited from GMS. It has awarded $500 million in scholarships to students around the country. GMS receives approximately 13,000 applications each year, with an average of 1,000 students being selected annually to receive the scholarship.

GMS was originally launched with a $1 billion grant from the Gates Foundation.

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