Introduction-Marcella Guthrie Scholarship Fund
A scholarship fund was created in 1987 and expanded after Mr. William Guthrie gave a substantial contribution to Avery Chapel AME Church in memory of his wife, Mrs. Marcella Guthrie. Subsequently, Reverend Leodis Strong requested and was granted permission to use this money to initiate a scholarship fund at Avery Chapel. A scholarship committee was formed at Avery and charged with devising fund raising projects to increase the amount of scholarships that would be awarded. A significant amount of funds was raised through the sale of “Fourth Sunday Dinners”. The dinners initially provided a steady stream of income for the Scholarship Fund and a time for fellowship among church members. From its humble beginnings the Fund has blossomed to become the Marcella Guthrie Scholarship Fund. The awards started as $50.00 scholarships and have grown in amounts and numbers.
The Marcella Guthrie Scholarship Fund hosted its first annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Banquet in 1993. The Banquet was organized by the Fund’s committee members to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to simultaneously raise scholarship funds. The committee members recognized that the Christian values of Dr. King and the mission of the Scholarship Fund were in total harmony. Scholarships became available to qualified students in the greater Oklahoma City area. Scholarships were awarded on the basis of the applicant’s qualifications and character and not on the color of their skin, gender, or religious preference.
The annual Banquet has become increasingly popular in Oklahoma City and “kicks” off the King Holiday festivities in grand fashion. The Banquet brings together university faculty, executives, small business owners, political leaders, and members of the community in what is viewed as a “partnership” that invests in our children and future leaders of tomorrow. Past banquet keynote speakers include: U.S. Representatives, Floyd Flake of New York City and Diane W. Watson of Los Angeles; Dr. James Gavin, former President of the American Diabetes Association; former Oklahoma Governor, and U.S. Senator, and University of Oklahoma President, David Boren; Judge Gloria Hatchett Johnson; John Bryant, Bishop, AME Church; Robert E. Hays, Jr., Bishop, United Methodist Church, Dr. Pamela McCauley-Bell, Motivational Speaker; David Walters, former Oklahoma Governor; Mary Fallin, former Lt. Governor and now Governor of Oklahoma; Dr. Gloria Griffin, retired Superintendent Millwood Public School District; Dr. Dunn H. Cumby, DDS; Dr. JoAnn W. Hasbert, former President of Langston University; Samuel L. Green, Bishop, AME Church; Rev. George Young, Oklahoma State Representative; Rev. M. L. Jemison, Pastor St. John Missionary Baptist Church; Dr. Mildred M. Randolph, Veterinarian, one of the founders of the Marcella Guthrie Scholarship Fund; Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University; Marionette Gibson, retired educator; Honorable Bernard Jones II, District Judge for the Oklahoma 7th Judicial District: and Rev. LeodisStrong, AME minister, under whose pasturage the Fund was born.
The Fund takes pride in the diversity of our scholarship recipients who are not only students from diverse backgrounds, but also different religious backgrounds. Our recipients hail from all quadrants of themetro Oklahoma City area. The Fund generally sponsors two ACT Workshop each year. The ACT practice test has been held at DouglassHigh School, Millwood High School, Putnam City North High School, Star Spencer High School, Centennial High School, Northeast Academy of Math and Science, and Langston University- OKC Campus. The Board of Directors of the Marcella Guthrie Scholarship Fund supports our young people with financial assistance as they pursue their educational goals. One major obstacle in the pursuit of the educational “brass ring” is the soaring cost of a post high school education. We know that our financial assistance lessens some of the burden students have to bear, as these funds can be used toward tuition, housing and the purchase of books and materials. We are very proud of all our recipients and take a tremendous amount of pride in knowing that we have been helpful in nurturing an attitude and environment of continued education. The Marcella Guthrie Scholarship Fund is an important program and one that we have and are continuing ways to improve. It is through programs such as this that we are able to assist students in being positive role models in their communities and lend encouragement and support to today’s youth.