Mike Andriatch & Dave Mihalyov | October 26, 2021

$1.1 Million Gift to Make the Brockport Experience Accessible for Students with Financial Need

Thirty local students will benefit from the Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars program each year, closing the gap between existing state and federal programs and traditional out-of-pocket expenses.

President Macpherson and others at the press conference for the ESL gift

A $1.1 million gift from ESL will assist incoming students at SUNY Brockport with scholarship funds that will allow them to enjoy the full college experience.

The Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars (FBWS) program will provide four-year scholarships to students from low income families with unmet financial need from within the six-county region ESL serves (Monroe, Orleans, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, and Wayne). Preference will be given to students of color.

“The Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars program will allow our scholars to focus on their studies without having to worry about paying their bills.”
President Heidi Macpherson

“This is another step in helping our most financially vulnerable students succeed,” said SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson. “The Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars program will allow our scholars to focus on their studies without having to worry about paying their bills. Importantly, through the generosity of ESL, Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars will be able to graduate with limited debt and contribute back to the greater Rochester community.”

The program will recruit strong students with financial need who might not otherwise be eligible for other Brockport scholarships. Approximately 30 students per year will receive these awards, which will supplement existing State and Federal programs and cover traditional out-of-pocket expenses such as room-and-board and fees.

“Scholarships are critical investments we make in the education of our community’s future leaders,” said Faheem Masood, president, and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union. “We sincerely thank SUNY Brockport for the opportunity to partner on the Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars program, as we know that a quality education can open the door to numerous opportunities. Together, we can help ensure students are supported and nurtured in a way that allows them to complete their studies, graduate, and jumpstart their successful careers.”

The program is intended to support a student’s ability to persist to graduation by providing financial, academic, personal, and career support.

Student eligibility includes meeting the following criteria:

  • Be accepted as an incoming freshman student and enrolled in a degree program at SUNY Brockport;
  • Have a High School GPA of 87 or higher;
  • Identified as low income with demonstrated unmet financial need;
  • A resident from Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Ontario, or Wayne counties;
  • Not be receiving a traditional merit/academic scholarship from SUNY Brockport; and
  • A student most at risk of not persisting to graduation, priority given to students of color

Fannie Barrier Williams was the first woman of color to graduate from what was then the Brockport Normal & Training School (the predecessor of SUNY Brockport) in 1870. She was recognized throughout the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a major national leader. She was a respected public speaker, prolific writer, prominent reform and labor activist, and a recognized intellectual – achievements all the more remarkable because she was a black woman living at a time known as the nadir of race relations. She and her husband were closely associated with Booker T. Washington, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells, and Frederick Douglass, and she played a part in the founding of the NAACP.

ESL’s Community Impact objectives focus on the following areas of impact throughout the Greater Rochester community: expanding individual opportunity through education and employment; building strong neighborhoods that are affordable, prosperous, well-connected, and inclusive; strengthening local organizations; and sharing stories that lift us up.

Aerial photo of Hartwell Hall

Information Sessions

Interested in learning more about the Fannie Barrier Williams Scholars program? Make sure to attend one of our upcoming information sessions.

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