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.

Remembering Leon E. Ashford, PhD

Celebrate Dr. Ashford’s legacy of dedication and service to Washington University students.

The Black Alumni Council remembers and celebrates the life of Leon E. Ashford, PhD, an early advocate for first-generation and Black students at Washington University. Ashford worked for the university for 39 years, retiring in 1995 as director of Student Educational Services, a precursor to The Learning Center. 

Leon Ashford was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 11, 1930, to Sam and Anna E. Ashford. He grew up in the historic Ville neighborhood in North St. Louis and attended Charles Sumner High School. After graduation, he attended Stowe Teachers College. It was during his time at Stowe that Ashford pledged and became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.—Omicron Sigma Chapter. Following his time at Stowe College, he spent one year at St. Louis University before being drafted for the war. While he was waiting on orders, he enrolled at Lincoln University. Ashford married the love of his life and best friend, Marian, on April 16, 1956. Ashford and his wife welcomed a son, Stephen, in 1969.

Ashford earned his doctorate in counseling psychology from Washington University in 1980 before being appointed director of the university’s Student Educational Service. He retired in 1995 after 39 years with the university. During his tenure he played many roles, from academic advisor to member of the Pre-Medical Advisory Committee. Prior to his doctoral work, he earned a master of arts in guidance and counseling in 1970 from the University of Missouri in St. Louis and a bachelor of arts with a major in biology from Lincoln University in 1953. In his student services role, he worked closely with low-income and first-generation college students to enhance their chances of academic success. He helped them navigate obstacles and make use of university services and resources. Former students remember him as a patient advisor and fierce advocate whose support of underrepresented students spanned generations.

In retirement, Ashford, a cancer survivor and passionate advocate, served as a member of the Disparities Elimination Advisory Committee, the Prostate Cancer Community Partnership, and the Prostate Cancer Coalition. In addition to his work on prostate screening advocacy, Ashford served on the St. Louis Mental Health Board of Trustees, co-founded Omega Squires mentoring organization, chaired the community and civic affairs committee of the Omega fraternity, and served as an advisor to the WashU Black Alumni Council among many other service roles.

Help us honor Dr. Ashford’s legacy of dedication and service.​​

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