Student receives $10,000 Pastor Davis scholarship

By Andreas Rivera, Staff Writer

Darby Thomas has spent the last year working to pay for school after she didn’t receive an expected volleyball scholarship.

But this year, Thomas, a junior in speech communication, can rest easy because of a $10,000 scholarship from the Pastor France A. Davis scholarship fund. She said she feels gratified to Davis, the local Calvary Baptist Church pastor, for providing her with the full-ride scholarship up to $10,000 that was created to ensure the continuing education of young black students at the U.

“He is a wonderful human being, very inspirational,” Thomas said. “He is the person I strive to be.”

Last Friday, Davis, a communication professor who is renowned for his work on equality and education in the community, urged students, faculty and members of the local black community to donate to scholarship funds such as this to help students finish their education.

“The mind is a terrible thing to waste, so we’ve got to ensure our young people get the best and highest education possible,” Davis said.

The Utah Black Chamber of Commerce established the scholarship fund last year to offer scholarships to African Americans planning to attend the U.

The fund, which awards one student a scholarship every year, was named after Davis, who marched with Martan Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and has continued those efforts in Utah.

“He is a longtime leader in the community,” said Kathleen Christy, chairwoman of the fund, at the anniversary tribute dinner for the scholarship fund Friday.

Former Brigham Young University football coach LaVell Edwards and former U coach Ron McBride were also honored at the dinner for giving African American athletes educational opportunities.

The scholarship started with an idea by Octavio Villalpando, associate vice president for the U Office of Equality and Diversity, to offer additional scholarships for diverse students.

At the tribute dinner, former Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey presented the fund’s community leaders’ awards to the two coaches. Many of the coaches’ former players attended the dinner and applauded their longtime supporters and mentors.

[email protected]

Thien Sok

Former Jazz player Thurl Bailey listens to former Utah football coach Ron McBride during the presentation of the Pastor Davis scholarship award.