— Howard University (@HowardU) April 28, 2017
— Howard University (@HowardU) May 5, 2017
I’m not a Howard alum. But I am from Washington DC, and in particular I grew upÂ when DC was the murder capital, when just about every local story was bad. Our mayor was convictedÂ on drug charges, and Congress took away financial home rule.
But Howard was admired. One of the top historically black colleges & universities, it had taught a miles-long list of notables,Â from public servants like Thurgood Marshall to artists likeÂ Toni Morrison. Howard was a demonstration that DC could lead, that its citizens weren’t just the owners of Taxation Without Representation license platesÂ and the victims of those murders.
Gift a Senior grants money to students who have fulfilled their graduation requirements but can’t graduate because they owe money to the university. It might be a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. The problem isn’t getting smaller – in 2015 “180 prospective graduates owed about $380,000,” and this year the campaign page talks aboutÂ 224 seniors with balances totallingÂ $1.35 million.
And so I’ve given Gift a Senior the same amount I’ll pay on my student loans this month.
I have student loans because I invested in my future career by going back to school. I’m grateful I can afford to pay them, and sorry I can’t make it to either my high school (20th) or business school (5th) reunions this year. I’ve been fortunate, and I remember the DC I grew up with.Â Gift a Senior is my investment in the future of DC, and of Howard University, and of a Bison whose story I might notÂ hear but who will write a better one because they can graduate next weekend.
I hope to wipe out moreÂ of my loans this year, so I’ll have to find a new metric for how muchÂ to give next year. But my alumni giving will again goÂ to my own schools, plus toÂ Gift a Senior.