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Published:

July 30, 2018
 
Tagged: Adelphi University

Creating Scholarships to Increase Diversity

Adelphi University


Marc S. Strachan credits his mother with pushing him to attend Adelphi—and helping him pay for it. Now, he’s passing on the favor to Adelphi students in similar circumstances.

Strachan, who graduated from the University in 1981, was one of six children, only three of whom survived to adulthood. They lived in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Their father died when they were young, and their mother worked long hours as a nurse’s aide and a domestic worker to support them. She died three years ago.

“My mother was the rock of our family,” he said. “She worked tireless hours to make sure all of her children had the best education she could provide.”

That’s why Strachan, who is a member of the Adelphi University Board of Trustees, used his late mother’s name for one of four endowed scholarships he recently funded. Strachan raised $80,000 to start the endowments and the University will match the annual payout of the endowments dollar for dollar in perpetuity, providing nearly $8,000 in scholarship awards this inaugural academic year.

“Creating these scholarships is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Strachan said.

The scholarships cover four areas:

  • The Hidden Figures Scholarship for Excellence in Math and Science is named for the women of color who excelled as mathematicians at NASA at the time of the Space Race, a group celebrated in the recent movie Hidden Figures. This scholarship will support one or more undergraduate students dedicated to the advancement of women of color in the fields of math or science. Winners must have completed 30 credits and carry a 3.5 or higher GPA.
  • The Helen Holmes Taylor ’49 Nursing Scholarship, named for the first black woman to study nursing at Adelphi, is for students in the nursing program with a minimum of 30 credits who demonstrate a financial need and who are dedicated to advancing the community of color. Strachan was inspired by the courage of Taylor, whose admission as the first nonwhite student at Adelphi in 1945 had to be voted on by the board of trustees and the senior class. She became the first African American nurse employed in the pediatric ward at NYU Medical Center and worked her way up to head nurse in the infant section of pediatrics, followed by a career of leadership in nursing.
  • The W.E.B. Du Bois Scholarship, named for the famed civil rights activist, supports students at Adelphi who are dedicated to advancing the African, African American, black, Hispanic or Caribbean communities. Recipients must have completed 90 credits, be a leader and activist, maintain a 3.0 grade point average, be recommended by a member of the faculty, and pursue at least a minor in African, Black or Caribbean Studies.
  • The Francis R. “Fannie Mae” Strachan Scholarship is named for Marc Strachan’s mother. The scholarship will go to first-year students with significant financial need who are dedicated to activism and/or community involvement, and who have shown examples of self-sacrifice and perseverance. A scholarship recipient receives money every year, for up to five years, while studying at Adelphi.

A Manhattan resident, Strachan is married, with a son working professionally and two college-age daughters. He is currently executive vice president, chief client officer, at Publicis/Sapient Razorfish. He has had a three-decade career in marketing in the beverage industry and played a major role in growing Cîroc vodka sales while working with rapper Sean Combs, as well as in the expanding sales of Tanqueray gin.

Strachan serves on a variety of boards, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and ADCOLOR, Inc., an organization that promotes diversity in media and marketing. He has also become more involved with Adelphi’s Alumni Association.

“I got reengaged four or five years ago,” he said. “There’s a new sense of energy happening.”

At Adelphi, he majored in marketing, and he credits the University for helping him find his voice. As a student, he joined Alpha Phi Alpha, the nation’s oldest African American college fraternity, and became president of the Black Student Union at Adelphi.

“I really enjoyed my four years there,” he said. “I met a lot of outstanding friends and colleagues.”

 
Tagged: Adelphi University