Scholarship Reception 940

Giving Students the World

Anthony Hamlet, the superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools who played on three of the U's national championship football teams despite a near-paralyzing boyhood accident, urged students to "use negativity to fuel your drive."
By Robert C. Jones Jr.

Anthony Hamlet, the superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools who played on three of the U's national championship football teams despite a near-paralyzing boyhood accident, urged students to "use negativity to fuel your drive."

Giving Students the World

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
The Black Alumni Society and Woodson Williams Marshall Association help scholars stay focused on their studies, not their finances.

Raised in a single-parent home with six siblings, Temitope Abisoye says “there wasn’t always a lot to go around” when she was growing up. But one thing she always set her sights on was obtaining a college degree. “That’s something our mom always pushed us to do,” Abisoye recalls.

Now, the University of Miami junior is a lot closer to realizing that dream. With the scholarship she recently received from the UM Black Alumni Society, Abisoye will be able to continue her studies in exercise physiology, taking comfort in the fact that the financial burden her Nigerian-born mother has incurred from putting a child through college has been reduced significantly.

“This means the world to me,” Abisoye, shedding tears of joy, said last Wednesday at the University’s Newman Alumni Center, where she and 14 other students received $75,000 in scholarships at the UM Black Alumni Society and Woodson Williams Marshall Association (WWMA) Scholarship Reception. “I usually feel like I’m the underdog. So to be recognized for my hard work and the things I’ve gone through just to reach this point means a lot to me.”

Like Abisoye, sophomore Edugie Osunde, a WWMA scholarship recipient, is also thankful for the award she received, saying it “enables me to focus on my academics without worrying about finances.”

Ever since she was 5, Osunde, a biomedical engineering major, has wanted to be a physician.

“But I was also drawn to math, physics, and technology more than biology and chemistry,” she said. “I love finding out how things work and the experience of breaking down something that’s complex into simpler parts to understand how it functions and how it can be improved. What attracted me to biomedical engineering is that it bridges the two areas of study I’m passionate about. There’s the engineering aspect of designing the best and most efficient devices, and then these devices are being applied to healthcare. I just find that so amazing.”

Abisoye, Osunde and the other scholarship recipients got plenty of encouragement from the reception’s keynote speaker, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools Anthony Hamlet, a University of Miami alumnus who played defensive lineman on three national championship football teams at the U and had a brief NFL career.

“I wasn’t the smartest or fastest kid on the block,” Hamlet said, recalling that he was “toothpick skinny” as a kid and that his friends laughed at him when he told them he wanted to become a college and NFL football player.

But Hamlet, who was told by doctors that he would never walk again after being hit by a truck when he was a little boy, persevered.

“Run your own race,” he told students. “Use negativity to fuel your drive.”

Learn more about the Black Alumni Society/Woodson Williams Marshall Association Scholarship.