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Young Clarkson Alumnae Create $30,000 Endowment For National Society Of Black Engineers
[A photo for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/nsbe2000.jpg]
Only eight years after their graduation, three members of the Clarkson University Class of 1992 have created a $30,000 endowment for the University’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
The Clarkson University NSBE Endowment Fund is the result of a commitment by LaDawn R. Holley and Lori Brown Griggs, both of New York City, and Taunglea Sims Ambroise of Brooklyn, N.Y., all original members of Clarkson’s NSBE chapter when it was founded in 1990. Their employers, Agilent Technologies, Goldman Sachs & Company, and Gateway, respectively, provided matching gifts for a portion of the donation.
NSBE is a professional society dedicated to increasing the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. The national organization has over 10,000 members in 270 collegiate, 75 pre-college and 75 professional chapters in the United States, Canada and overseas
The Clarkson University NSBE Endowment Fund will provide financial support for chapter operations, conference travels, and annual recognition dinners. The funding will also help support the chapter’s community service programs and volunteer work, such as organizing a book drive and co-sponsoring a corporate reception on campus.
“When I first started NSBE in the fall of 1990 I was determined to keep the vision alive, and I knew that when the time was right I'd give back,” explains Holley, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and is now a regional account manager with Agilent Technologies in New York City. “I decided to do the endowment fund to ensure that students can continue to carry the NSBE torch without the burden of finance. The goal of the fund is to give all active members of the chapter a quality NSBE experience.”
Ambroise, who served as the Clarkson NSBE chapter’s corporate liaison during her time as a student and is now a senior manager for strategic accounts at Gateway Computers, was quick to support Holley’s idea. “I am continuously looking for ways to give back to the colleges and universities that have offered me so many opportunities.”
Griggs, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Clarkson and now works in the U.S. Fixed Income Investment Management Division at Goldman Sachs & Company, feels that alumni have an obligation to ensure that learning opportunities continue for future students. “Although our primary objective in starting the endowment was to benefit NSBE students, we also know that it sets a positive example for other alumni. We challenge them to exceed our donation.”
Clarkson President Denny Brown praised the commitment of the trio, saying, “So often, we hear about alumni who make the selfless decision to give back to their alma mater 20, 30, even 40 years after their graduation. Young alumni who create endowments for the benefit of future students are the exceptions, not the rule. The NSBE Endowment Fund set up by LaDawn, Lori and Taunglea is an inspiration for others to make a similar effort on behalf of Clarkson.”
Julius P. Mitchell, director of the Pipeline of Educational Programs, which supports minority students at Clarkson, is not surprised that the three young women who had the drive to establish the first NSBE chapter at Clarkson are continuing to break new ground. “They are continuing their own tradition of excellence by recognizing and filling the needs of current NSBE members, and that is appreciated by all of us.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Former and current members of the Clarkson University chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers gather after the announcement of the creation of a $30,000 endowment fund by three of its alumni. From left: Taunglea Sims Ambroise ’92; LaDawn Holley ’92; Nse Ikkideh, Academic Excellence chair; Danielle M. Johnson, Programs chair; Marjani K. Stewart, NSBE president; Sheryl S. Hudson, NSBE historian; Isaac Osei, Pre-College Initiative chair; and Nkechi Ejimadu, NSBE vice-president. Not pictured: Lori Brown Griggs ’92.