University of Liberia students cry for Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman Scholarship

(Press Release Issued by the University of Liberia Alumni Association in Pennsylvania)


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
March 11, 2005

Nearly 50 students at the University of Liberia benefited from the Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman Scholarship program last Semester. The University of Liberia Alumni Association in Pennsylvania (ULIBSAA) launched the scholarship program last year and later re-named it in honor of the late UL President, Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman.

Students from all five colleges at the university received the scholarship. Funds to cover the cost of the scholarship came from money raised by the UL alumni Association in Pennsylvania (ULIBSAA).

In a recent letter to ULIBSAA President, Abraham G. Massaley, the Controller at the University, Mrs. Esther H. page said the scholarship bill of more than $83,000.00 Liberian dollars represented tuition and fees for first semester of 2004 which is about USD $50.00 per student. ULIBSAA has since transmitted the money to the UL controller in Monrovia.

ULIBSAA in 2004 drafted the scholarship guidelines and constituted a Screening Committee in Liberia headed by the President of the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) to select eligible students to benefit from the program each semester. Other members of the Screening Committee are the President of the UL Alumni Association (Liberia), the Dean of Students, the UL Controller and two representatives of the student body.

ULFA acting president, Mr. Lavela Pewee recently wrote ULIBSAA, expressing their appreciation for the assistance, and appealed for increment in the number of scholarships. He said the committee last year received very high volume of applications for the scholarship, citing the financial difficulties in the country.

Meanwhile, ULIBSAA President, Massaley has announced that he is stepping down at the end of March, 2005 because of personal reasons, but has promised to remain active with the organization. Massaley is however appealing to former students and graduates of the university residing in the United States to support their alma mata.

Massaley said most UL alumni residing in the United States have shown no interest in helping their former school, and continue to demonstrate total lack of support and interest in efforts to organize a viable alumni association in the Americas. The outgoing president said the Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman Scholarship will be in limbo if the nearly $4,000.00 outstanding debt owed the UL Alumni Association in Pennsylvania is not paid.

He said during the launching of the scholarship drive in May 2003, former students and graduates who attended the program made pledges in the amount of more than $6,500.00, and despite all frantic efforts to collect the money, very few have honored their pledges.

Mr. Massaley said the President of the Washington DC chapter of the UL Alumni Association has also quitted seemingly because of this same lack of support from people who benefited from the University of Liberia. He said the vice president of the Pennsylvania chapter, Mr. J. Shiwoh Kamara has also been very reluctant to take over the organization seemingly because of lack of support and interest from fellow alumni in Pennsylvania. Mr. Massaley begun discussing with Mr. Kamara last year to take over the organization but Mr. Kamara is also very concern about the disinterest shown by many colleagues.

Meanwhile, Mr. Massaley has paid homage to Professor Abraham L. James and former alumni president Winsley Nyanka as well as his fellow officers for their devotion to the university. They include Mr. J. Shiwoh Kamara, Vice President, Mr. Joseph Morlu, Secretary, Mrs. Beatrice Kayne Rosario, Treasurer, Mrs. Murlyne Brown Youboty, Financial Secretary, Ms Lynda Buesmail, Chairman on Membership, Mr. Charles Coleman, Chairman on Ways and Means and Ms Sienna Kollie, member of the five member committee charged with the responsibility of organizing a vibrant alumni association in the United States.

Mr. Massaley said these people have gone out of their way to encourage former students and graduates of the university to pay back to their alma mata but regretted that many just do not want to be bothered. Mr. Massaley appealed to people who made pledges to the Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman Scholarship to honor their commitment, and is also urging fellow alumni to contribute to the scholarship so that it cannot become dead.

"I have already informed the UL Controller that our continued funding to the Sherman Scholarship will depend on the support we will get", Mr. Massaley said, lamenting that "it will be a shame to abandon the scholarship program which is named in honor of one of our most respected and admired Liberians who risked everything she owned in order to defend and support students at the University of Liberia".

Mr. Massaley said officers of the Pennsylvania chapter are determined to continue the scholarship program, in view of appeal from the students and the faculty but said that "our effort to maintain the Sherman Scholarship will be as good as the support we get from fellow alumni".

Under the 2003 arrangement, the Pennsylvania chapter is chairing the five-member committee that was constituted to establish a vibrant UL alumni association in the United States. But this effort is being undermined because of lack of support.

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