WPU Announces the Parham Scholar Award

July 12, 2022

The Parham Scholar Award is part of the “22 Courageous Gifts in 2022” giving campaign – a campus-wide fundraising initiative at William Peace University (WPU). Donors, like WPU Board of Trustees member Tony Parham and his wife, Dr. Lynda Morris Parham, have chosen to support this initiative by making a courageous commitment which will provide our students with the resources they need to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn their passion into purpose. These gifts will shape both the future of our university and our students. To learn more or to donate visit 22 in 2022.

WPU is excited to announce the Parham Scholar Award, thanks to the generosity of WPU Board of Trustee member Antonio (“Tony”) Parham and his wife Dr. Lynda Morris Parham. This gift was committed on WPU’s Day of Giving, helping the University to exceed its goal to raise more than $104,000. 

The Award will recognize a junior or senior completing a degree in business, leadership, innovation/technology, or similar program — with preference given to an African-American student or a student within an underrepresented population.

Eligible students must demonstrate excellence in academic achievement and show evidence of dedication to leadership and inclusive community development. Each recipient will be selected by the faculty and presented with the scholarship at an annual awards ceremony.

“We are honored and grateful to the Parhams for courageously supporting WPU students,” said Jodi Stamey, Former Vice President for University Advancement. “This award demonstrates their confidence in our university and the ability of our students to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Tony and Lynda are passionate about the values of leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. By establishing this award, they hope to enable the recipients to grow these skills.  

“It recognizes young men and women of excellence and encourages them to continue to have a positive impact on society,” said Tony, who is SVP, Head of Sales Innovation for Fidelity Investment’s Workplace Investing business unit. 

To the Parhams (both of whom are ordained ministers), the opportunity to pursue higher education can be life-changing for an individual, one’s family and one’s larger community. They have personal and professional experience with the long-term benefits of higher education and want to provide opportunities for younger generations to benefit from it.   

While Lynda’s mother has several family members who are college graduates and entrepreneurs, her father was a first-generation college student. “He had his eyes opened to a whole new world of experiences and opportunities by attending Fisk University, achieving a Doctorate in Dental Sciences at Howard University and then establishing a dental office in Philadelphia, PA,” said Lynda. 

Tony’s parents were also first-generation college students. His mom earned a bachelor’s degree from Coppin State University and a master’s degree from NYU while his dad earned a bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University, a master’s degree from Middlebury College and did extensive university-level Spanish-language studies in Mexico. Both of Tony’s parents then served for many years as educators in Baltimore’s Public Schools. 

Lynda, who is a Licensed Psychologist, educator, and owner of Mariposa Resilience and Wellness, firmly believes that a nurturing and challenging environment in college can build confidence. 

“When you are the first in your family, it takes tremendous faith, courage and perseverance to attend college and excel there — and we want this award to support those students who demonstrate initiative, courage and commitment in their educational journey,” she said. 

The Parhams first got involved with WPU in 2018, when Tony found his way onto the WPU Board of Trustees through a friend already on the Board. Lynda, on the other hand, heard of the school from a polite and respectful WPU student who assisted her in a parking lot. The student beamed as he talked about his educational experiences at WPU. This positive encounter made her incredibly excited for Tony to be on the Board and to have an impact on the future of the school.

From the start, Tony has been very impressed with the caliber of the WPU Board and leadership. He commented, “I’ve seen WPU go through challenges (such as the pandemic) and I have continued to be impressed with the quality of leadership, the students and the institution.”

If you are interested in joining Tony and Lynda in courageously supporting WPU students, please visit the WPU giving page. You can designate your gift to the Parham Scholar Fund in the comment section.