Bertha Rogers Looney & Summer Owens S.O. What! Success Endowed Scholarship

For many students, the journey to complete college can seem impossible. College affordability remains a key barrier to student success and graduation. For students with additonal obstacles, graduating is even more challenging.

One of us was embraced and supported by the University of Memphis. The other was not.
Yet we're equally motivated to now support others.
The incredible,
humble history-maker of the Memphis State Eight, Bertha Rogers Looney has joined me on my mission to create more S.O. What! Success stories at the
University of Memphis.

We hope you'll support our effort!

Summer's Story

When I started college at the University of Memphis, I was the 17-year-old mother of my two-year-old son. I had gotten pregnant on my 15th birthday by someone I didn't even know. A key to me beating the devastating statistics teen moms face was getting my education. The University of Memphis embraced me and helped me to succeed in college and in life.

Bertha Rogers Looney and the Memphis State Eight

15-year old Summer Owens

with the son who went to college with her

Check out this insightful interview with Bertha Rogers Looney. She is so sweet, humble, and just amazing.

Bertha's Story

When Bertha Rogers came to the University of Memphis, she was not embraced. She was not even wanted. As part of the group of eight black students who integrated the University of Memphis, she, and the others exhibited extreme bravery, resilience, and perseverance to earn her degree and achieve success in her life and open the door for me and countless African American students to earn degrees from the UofM.

It's Simple to Support

​To join us in creating a perpetual gift of financial support to students at our alma mater where we achieved and now inspire S.O.What! Success.

1. Click here to state your pledge amount.

Our goal is to create a $50,000 endowed scholarship which means we must raise $35,000 as soon as possible to take advantage of the Bruns Scholarship Challenge. We are seeking 35 donors to pledge $1,000 which can even be donated at just $20/month.

*Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Donors who contribute at least $1,000 will be recognized as members of the President's Giving Society.

2. Complete your pledge.

Venita Doggett, Director of Development for the UofM, will contact you with simple instructions to complete your pledge and determine your monthly donation and timeframe to meet your commitment.

*For each person who makes a pledge, I will send a copy of my memoir with a personal note to whomever you designate.

3. Encourage others to join this special effort to support students striving to succeed in spite of their challenges and achieve the dream of completing college.

All donations are tax deductible and will be accepted directly by the University of Memphis.


    If you have questions, please provide your email address above or contact Venita Doggett

    Director of Development, University of Memphis.

    [email protected]

    But if you're ready to Make Your Pledge (hope so!)

    Click Here

    Helping youth and young adults say, "So what!" to every challenge they face and, "So NOW what?" to succeed in spite of their obstacles.