DALLAS — The 2022 class of Paul Quinn College received quite the surprise during Saturday's commencement ceremony: a $250,000 investment fund from Alfred Street Baptist Church.
Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, said the gift is part of an initiative to fight intergenerational poverty.
“We are truly grateful to Alfred Street Baptist Church and my friend, Dr. Wesley. The vision needed to make this type of investment is as uncommon as it is generous,” said Sorrell. “With this gift, we will be establishing a trust fund for the Class of 2022. In doing so, we are making available the type of wealth management/building tool that is not commonly available to first generation college graduates and Pell Grant recipients. The number one tool in the fight against poverty is access to capital. Together, Alfred Street and Paul Quinn are making sure that PQC’s class of 2022 begins their post-college lives on the right foot. We can never say ‘thank you’ enough to Dr. Wesley and his extraordinary congregation.”
The investment fund will be managed by JP Morgan Chase and will be accessible to the 2022 graduates in 10 years, school officials said in a release.
Paul Quinn College officials also said their goal is to build Street’s gift by securing additional contributions and increasing the fund’s value. The fund will provide a tangible, monetary gift that will go directly to students and grow as the students continue in their educational or professional pursuits. officials said.
“Congratulations to the Class of 2022! This graduating class has spent at least half of their college career in a global pandemic navigating an immense amount of stress and hardship" said Revered Dr. Howard-John Wesley, senior pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church. "We know the impact this has had on our mental and physical health and especially the impact it has had on the Black community. These resilient students deserve to be celebrated in a one-of-a-kind way and I, along with the incredibly giving community of Alfred Street Baptist Church, am excited to bless these bright young leaders who have the brightest future ahead. Our hope is that this gift will sow a seed into Paul Quinn students, allowing them to become all that God has called them to be."
Paul Quinn’s 145th graduating class was its largest since 2008 and has been on a “steep upward trajectory” in recent years, the school said.