Dr. Karen Weddle-West Completion Scholarship Established

October 28, 2020 - University of Memphis President M. David Rudd and clinical associate professor in child development Dr. Loretta Rudd have committed $50,000 to endow the Dr. Karen Weddle-West Completion Scholarship.

The gift will be used to provide scholarships for undergraduate UofM African American Male Academy (AAMA) students from the Memphis area who are in good academic standing, within a year of graduating and facing significant financial challenges.

The $50,000 commitment qualifies for a match from the Bruns Scholarship Challenge Fund. Longtime UofM supporter Mike Bruns established the fund in August by committing $1 million to create a 1:2 matching opportunity that challenges donors to establish new endowed scholarships at the University.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has also committed $10,000 to completion scholarships for AAMA students. That contribution will translate into 5 $2,000 scholarships. 

Weddle-West is Vice President of Student Academic Success at the UofM. The AAMA was established in 2019 at Weddle-West’s direction to identify, recruit and induct African American male students into a culture of inclusive excellence. The program’s model is designed to increase graduation rates by providing early exposure to academic and career preparation, peer and faculty mentors, textbooks and educational supplies and integration into college life.

“Those who are willing to support completion scholarships for African American males during these turbulent times are truly amazing,” Weddle-West said. “I feel incredibly blessed to be able to direct these funds to some of our most needy students.” 

The AAMA was launched following President Rudd’s well-received testimony to the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment on “The Cost of Non-Completion," in May 2019.

“It’s an honor for Loretta and I to provide this contribution for such a great cause, especially during these historically difficult times within our community and across the country,” President Rudd said. “Dr. Weddle-West has done a tremendous job establishing and growing the African American Male Academy — an initiative that will have a positive impact on our community and University for years to come.” 

Donations to the scholarship can be made online at supportum.memphis.edu/completionscholarship.

Chuck Gallina | 901.678.1756 l cgallina@memphis.edu