The University of Michigan-Flint announced today the first phase of funding from a gift bequeathed by Associate Professor Everett Jordon Blakely. Blakely taught in the Social Work Department for twenty-three years prior to his death in 2013.
The original amount of Blakely's gift was $30,000 and created the Vivian Pullum Emergency Fund, named in honor of Dr. Blakely's mother. The fund provides emergency cash assistance to junior or senior level social work majors who are experiencing a disruption of their education due to an unexpected financial crisis.
However, additional funding made possible by the growth of the trust will also provide for scholarships to students of social work at UM-Flint. While the total amount of the gift is still to be determined, it will be large enough to create an endowed scholarship fund in addition to the emergency fund that Blakely originally envisioned. The university is expected to receive this next phase of the bequest later this year.
The scholarship fund will support full- and part-time students enrolled in the UM-Flint Bachelor of Social Work program. Financial need will be a consideration.
"Dr. Blakely was fully committed to student success and wanted to give something back to ensure that all students had the opportunity to finish their degree regardless of financial situation," says Robert Barnett, Professor and Dean of the School of Education and Human Services at the University of Michigan-Flint. "This generous gift will provide scholarships, help students recover from unexpected financial difficulties, and to avoid the last resort of abandoning a promising college career."
Blakely understood the challenges faced by students, especially for those who are non-traditional. He recognized students could face the prospects of dropping out of school due to their financial struggles because he was one of them. In the early 1970s, while working the second shift, he decided to attend UM-Flint to pursue a degree in psychology and philosophy. He credited key faculty with instilling in him an understanding of the role for critical thinking in community mental health systems.
"The establishment of this fund exemplifies Dr. Blakely's lifelong dedication to the social work profession and to educating and supporting students who will continue to serve our most vulnerable populations," says Otrude Moyo, Associate Professor and Chair of the Social Work Department. "We are very grateful to Dr. Blakely for his unwavering commitment to the University of Michigan-Flint and its students. His loss was deeply felt by the University community, but, through this gift, his generosity will continue to inspire and assist students for years to come."
About GIVING at the University of Michigan-Flint
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations' mission is advancing the University of Michigan-Flint and fulfilling the aspirations of those it serves. The university's dedicated contributors fund a broad array of needs, from student scholarships, breakthrough research, community outreach, and the highest-quality education.
For more information about giving to the University of Michigan-Flint, visit the Office of Development and Alumni Relations' website.