“It’s very important that they continue to donate
and create ways for new donors because it’s very
beneficial to students, especially at HBCU’s.“
JAMES JOSEPH is grateful for second chances. After 15 years of being out of college, James was able to return to school thanks to Texas Southern University’s Fresh Start program. Not only was he able to return, he was able to do something he hadn’t been able to do the first time he enrolled in college back in the early 2000s – graduate!
“Coming back was new to me, not as a traditional student. I learned differently now than I did back then from what the students learn now,” James said. “I started at the beginning, took remedial classes to get acclimated to the way things are done now (Blackboard, Shag). It kind of scared me in the beginning but once I got through those two courses, I started to move forward. The atmosphere, being around young students in academia was exciting to me. I learned a lot of new ways of doing things. It benefitted me. My networking abilities were expanded by being on campus.”
But before James reached that milestone of graduating, he was worried that he wouldn’t make it. As a non-traditional student with a family, money was tight. James thought he’d have to do a repeat of dropping out. And then, he got a scholarship from the Office of Development.
“I didn’t know how I was going to continue on. I’m a father and I take care of my family. I dropped out the first time because life happens,” he said. “Then I got a scholarship, which helped me tremendously by bridging the gap between life and academia. The scholarship kept me on my right path. I didn’t have to take extra classes. It kept my family on the right track because I was able to support my family, and my community because I’m community president so I was able to take the knowledge I learned in school and give back to my community.”
James says donors may never know the true impact of their gift. “It’s very important that they continue to donate and create ways for new donors because it’s very beneficial to students, especially at HBCU’s,” he said. “A lot of students are low income and they want to achieve. I often say you can have a program, but if you have no funding, it’ll go nowhere. It can bridge a gap between going the next semester and dropping out.”