By Emmanuel Freeman
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Nashville businessman and community activist Jerry L. Maynard II recently presented Tennessee State University with a check for $50,000 to establish a scholarship in his late mother’s honor for students in financial need.
The Shirley Ann Coates Student Government Association Scholarship will support student scholarship and leadership development at the university to promote his mother’s legacy of caring, according to Maynard. He made the presentation during a ceremony in the Floyd Payne Campus Center.
“We are giving a $50,000 scholarship award to TSU, specifically for students in need to matriculate, but also to prepare them for leadership skills and training,” Maynard said. “I think that’s the best way to honor my mother who passed away a year and half ago.”
Neither Maynard nor his mother attended TSU, but the longtime businessman said “President (Glenda) Glover and Tennessee State University have been a beacon of hope for students,” which made the decision easy on how to use the funds to honor his mother.
In the ‘90s, Shirley Ann Coates, a pastor, opened and operated a daycare center in her local church, charging a “very nominal rate” to help working women who could not afford the average $125 a week to care for their kids.
“So, my mother opened a daycare and charged $35 a week so the working woman, especially single mothers, could go to work and still be able to provide daycare for their children,” Maynard said. “She took a loss, but she did so because she wanted women to feel proudful by going to work and providing for their kids. That’s the type of woman she was. So, with this gift, Michelle Ann, Michael and David (Maynard’s siblings), we stand together and we honor my mother, and also honor TSU.”
In receiving the check, Student Government Association President Dominique Davis thanked and congratulated Maynard and his family for the donation.
“This endowment will provide much needed help to our students over the next several semesters,” Davis told Maynard. “Many students here will reap the benefit of your generosity. TSU is indebted to you, and we do not take your act of kindness lightly.”
Frank Stevenson, TSU’s associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said Maynard has always been a supporter of TSU.
“To now have Mr. Maynard make this level of financial commitment to our students, and putting it in the hands of student affairs and the SGA to find fellow students who are in the most need, is an amazing opportunity,” said Stevenson. “So, we are excited, our students are excited. We are also excited that Jerry is challenging other alumni, businesses in the community to step up and support this wonderful institution.”
To find out how to establish a scholarship or to make a donation, please visit https://www.tnstate.edu/foundation/.