Supporting the leaders of tomorrow

Ronald A. Hammond Scholar Asha Wedemier-Allan poses next to Sebastian.
By Amanda M. Perez

Ronald A. Hammond Scholar Asha Wedemier-Allan poses next to Sebastian.

Supporting the leaders of tomorrow

By Amanda M. Perez
At an annual luncheon, University of Miami scholarship recipients connect with the donors who help make their educational aspirations a reality.

It was 2016 when Asha Wedemier-Allan applied to the University of Miami with the aspiration of being the first person in her family to attend college.

“I will never forget the day I received the acceptance letter from the U. First, my mother said ‘I’m so proud of you!’ and then, ‘but how are we going to pay for it?,'" recalled Wedemier-Allan.

Thanks to the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship, her dream came true. Wedemier-Allan was a recipient of the scholarship, which is awarded to only a few high school seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence. Hammond Scholars receive the full cost of tuition for four years of undergraduate study.

Wedemier-Allan is now proud to say that she is a junior at the University of Miami majoring in political science and business law.

Scholarship recipients“Being a scholarship recipient has ultimately changed the trajectory of my life,” she said. “In addition to eliminating the previous burden on my shoulders regarding being able to afford a top tier education, I feel like a valued individual who is able to be part of a communal network that is larger than my identity and systematic adversity.”

Wedemier-Allan had the opportunity to share her experiences at the U and thank the scholarship donors who support the educational goals of her and many others during the 12th annual Scholarship Donor Recognition Luncheon at the Watsco Center Fieldhouse on Wednesday afternoon.

UM President Julio Frenk spoke at the event, which provided donors and students a special opportunity to connect personally and learn more about each other.

“Scholarships are a passport to prosperity not only to individual students, but to society as a whole," Frenk said. "Many of the students being supported by scholarships will become the innovators, entrepreneurs, creators, professionals, and civic leaders of tomorrow.”

Scholarship student with Marshall AmesWedemier-Allan represents thousands of talented students who are pursuing their education at the University thanks to the financial support of donors.

H.T. Smith, Jr., an alumnus of the School of Law and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, is one of the many donors who enjoy the gift of providing education.

“You don’t get a chance to make a difference in people’s lives of a significant weight very often. We know that opening the vaults of opportunity in education gives people an opportunity to pursue their dreams,” said Smith. “There’s nothing more fulfilling than to do that for my family and for people of the University of Miami coming behind me.”

Jeffrey L. Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, expressed gratitude to all the scholarship donors for their loyalty and commitment to the university.

Donor and scholarship students“Together, we have created and funded scholarships in a wide range of disciplines including the sciences, business, music, art, athletics, and more,” Duerk said. “These experiences help transform our students into successful professionals, and thanks to our donors, they can achieve this without undue financial worries about paying for their studies.”

Hammond Scholar Wedemier-Allan is already paying it forward. She is part of the ‘Inspire U’ mentorship program, in which UM scholars mentor local high school students from underprivileged backgrounds. She was recently ecstatic to find out that a student she mentors received a full scholarship to a university of her choice.

“Thanks to my scholarship, I am affiliated with prestigious University faculty and peers who empower students to achieve personal growth and become citizens who make beneficial impacts in their community,” Wedemier-Allan said.