Since the founding of the university, alumni, parents, and friends have stepped forward to help the next generation of students experience all that WashU has to offer. Attracting and enrolling talented Black students creates a more diverse student body, and scholarship support helps ensure that lack of financial resources does not create a barrier to enrollment.

Black Alumni Council Endowed Scholarship

The BAC established an endowed scholarship in 1993 to strengthen the university’s efforts to attract and retain a diverse student body. Full-time Washington University students in good academic standing who contribute to the diversity of our campus and the Washington University community are eligible to receive the Black Alumni Council Endowed Scholarship. The university believes that there are many dimensions to student body diversity, including cultural, socioeconomic, gender, age, religious, racial, geographical, ethnic, intellectual, philosophical, and other backgrounds and perspectives.

The Black Alumni Council Emergency Fund

This emergency fund was established by the BAC to support our students in times of unanticipated financial need. The emergency fund has made an immeasurable difference in many students lives, while also sending a message of unity, caring, and support.​ Full-time Washington University students in good academic standing who contribute to the diversity of our campus and Washington University community are eligible to receive support from the fund.

BAC Endowed Scholarship in Tribute of Professor Emeritus Robert L. Williams

The Black Alumni Council remembers and celebrates the life of Robert L. Williams II, professor emeritus of psychological and brain sciences and of African and African American studies. Williams co-founded (with Jack Kirkland) Washington University’s Black Studies program, now the Department of African and African-American Studies. 

“Black Studies was born in the days of high protest,” Williams recalled in a 2019 interview with Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and current chair of African and African-American Studies. “[It] was really not an easy task … There were many unanswered questions at that time. Even the faculty had questions about the importance or significance of Black Studies.” Nevertheless, he added, “I saw a great deal of opportunity.”

Williams arrived at Washington University as a graduate student in 1957 and received his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1961. He then served as assistant chief psychologist at the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Affairs Hospital in St. Louis; as director of a hospital improvement project in Spokane, Wash.; and as a consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Williams helped to organize the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) in 1968, in the months following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Today, it includes more than 1,400 members from across the United States. Williams served as president from 1969-1970.

An early critic of racial bias in standardized testing and a proponent of African philosophical traditions, he is perhaps best known for coining the term “Ebonics,” a mash-up of “ebony” and “phonics,” to refer to the vernacular English often spoken by African Americans.

Throughout his career, Dr. Williams broke barriers while committing himself to challenging, encouraging, and supporting students. In similar spirit, the Black Alumni Council’s Endowed Scholarship Fund was established to support students who contribute to the diversity of the Washington University community. Potential candidates for the scholarship are full-time Juniors or seniors in good academic standing with demonstrated need who contribute to the diversity of our campus and the WashU community. The scholarship is awarded each fall.

Your contribution to the Black Alumni Council Endowed Scholarship Fund will help us celebrate Robert L. Williams’ legacy of excellence and dedication by supporting talented WashU students.

For more information about these scholarships and the application process, please contact the Black Alumni Council or (314) 935-4557.