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Wale and Audrey Elegbede

Established by UWL Distinguished Alumni, TED Speaker, Healthcare Administrative Leader and President of Rochester Branch NAACP, Sulaimon Adewale Elegbede, (’Wale") and his wife, Dr. Audrey Elegbede, former UWL Professor of Ethnic and Racial Studies, this scholarship is meant to support an international student from Africa, someone of African descent or an individual of an ethnic minority. Fueled by the belief in the power of human connections and ideas, and that connections must be made to improve our world by empowering people, communities, organizations, and governments to take strong active steps towards positive community engagement and eliminating discrimination, islamophobia, and racism, this scholarship is meant to provide support for individuals who traditionally have limited access to scholarships at UWL.

“I struggled financially with the high international tuition fees, which was also much higher than other students. One of my low points was starving, searching for food in the kitchen and couldn’t even find a single grain of rice,” Wale recalled. “My uncle in Texas had to (ship me) food.”

Research, Wale points out, shows students of color are less likely to receive merit-based institutional grants than white students, who receive “more than 72% of all institutional merit-based scholarship and funding, even though they represent less than 62% of the student population,” according to a report from Mark Kantrowitz, featured on, a site from national organization Race Forward.

The report, Wale says, shows “private scholarship programs tend to perpetuate historical inequities in the distribution of scholarships by race, however … it was not due to deliberate discrimination, but rather natural result of the personal interests of the scholarship sponsors.”
He also refers to an article by Anayat Durrani, US News Education contributor, who states “finding scholarships for international students may seem next to impossible, but they do exist.”

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