Magic Johnson donated $600,000 to DSU during its scholarship gala.

Starry DSU gala raises $3 million for scholarships

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

Magic Johnson donated $600,000 to DSU during its scholarship gala.

Magic Johnson donated $600,000 to DSU during its scholarship gala.

Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson made a guest appearance at this past weekend’s gala at Delaware State University, which raised $3 million and was highlighted by the single-largest contribution made by an alum in the University’s 132-year history. 

Along with a $1 million grant from Sallie Mae to DSU’s College Completion Program, the high-ranked HBCU received a $1 million donation from Steve Ewing, a 1983 graduate of then-Delaware State College.

The completion program is a flexible blueprint to allow former college students who earned 60 or more credits but did not complete their degree to receive credits to get a degree.

Ewing and his wife Terri, gifted the university after recently selling their automotive franchise Wade Ford, one of America’s largest Black-owned Ford dealerships. 

“My parents gave me all the tools to be successful, but I am a better man, a better person because of Delaware State University,” Ewing said at the event.

The gala, which was held on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Chase Center on the Wilmington Riverfront had about 1,200 partners, alums and others during DSU’s annual Scholarship Ball. 

The sold-out ball – held exclusively to support student scholarships – also featured the R&B group SWV and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

DSU President Tony Allen told Ewing that he is an exemplary alum, one clearly raised with a unique combination of tenacity, compassion and grace, which he called the very essence of the University’s creed, ‘Enter to learn; go forth to serve.’”

The 5-time NBA Champion Magic Johnson, who has made donations to DSU in the past, added another $600,00 to the university and promised an additional $1 million as DSU continues to grow.

Sallie Mae’s grant will support a comprehensive three-year “Persistence and Completion Pilot Program” that will study and identify barriers to degree completion, help students return to school and complete it and help advance policy recommendations and best practices to enhance student re-engagement.

“We know the promise of a higher education comes from earning a degree, yet too often, underserved and underrepresented students face obstacles that cause them to stop out or drop out altogether,” said Jon Witter, chief executive officer of the company  “Our mission-aligned partnership with DSU aims to remove barriers to degree completion so that more students have the resources they need to cross the finish line.”

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