Shelby County Schools & University of Memphis partner to create the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship

June 5, 2020 - Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray and University of Memphis President M. David Rudd have committed to the creation of the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship fund, with the goal of providing college scholarship support to as many African American Male Academy members as possible. 

As our country continues to grieve and express pain and outrage in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, among others, Shelby County Schools and the University of Memphis are committed to working together to be part of the solution to systemic racism and racial inequality. On Sunday, we will induct the first class of 50 African American male middle school students into our African American Male Academy, a partnership between the District and University targeting improved graduation rates.   

“As we embark on a new frontier of partnerships in Memphis, I’m proud to join my good friend, Dr. Rudd, in this work of putting a laser-like focus on the empowerment of young men of color in middle schools across the city,” said Ray. “The fight against systemic racism is personal for me, as I know that students can’t breathe without equitable education. Through this memorial scholarship, we’ve set out to ensure that George Floyd did not die in vain, and that his final cries for breath will forever be ingrained on our consciousness as we extend a financial lifeline to students seeking to achieve greater outcomes.”

Rudd added, “This is only one small step toward productive change, but I can assure you it is the first of many concrete changes and reforms our University and community will be taking. Loretta and I both will support the effort personally and will also dedicate time and energy to raise funds and support as many young Academy members as possible. We can to build a better future, in Memphis, across Tennessee, and our country.”