Media credit: Hatchet File Photo
Associate Director of Development Chris Monroe said officials would award the scholarship to a member of the men’s or women’s basketball programs each year.
Both male and female basketball players will soon be able to apply for a scholarship that aims to help student-athletes succeed off the court.
The Leroy Charles Memorial Fellowship, established last semester, honors the former vice president of external affairs at GW Medical Center who passed away in February 2019. Charles has left a legacy of mentoring in the basketball program throughout his career over 30 years, which sports department associate director of development Chris Monroe said was a driving motivation for the creation of the scholarship.
“It’s important to remember a man who took the time to really show off and really connect student athletes to their post-basketball career path,” said Monroe. “Besides showing us that there is more than sport out there, and especially for minorities, he really put us in a good position to understand the landscape.”
The scholarship, which is still on track to meet its fundraising goal of $ 100,000, will become an annual award given to a selected member of the women’s or men’s basketball program to support their GW education, Monroe said. Recipients will be selected by two of the scholarship’s top donors, including former medical center administrator John Williams, as well as members of the Charles family.
As a basketball player in his youth, Charles played for Tufts from 1972 to 1976, becoming one of the school’s all-time top scorers. Upon joining GW in 1986, Charles took on the responsibility of helping members of the men’s and women’s basketball programs find their respective career paths off the court.
One of those student-athletes was Monroe, who played for the Colonials from 1999 to 2003 and became the team’s all-time leading scorer. Monroe said Charles helped land his first summer internship in 2000 with an accounting firm, a role that greatly influenced his life trajectory and ultimately influenced his decision to return to GW.
“He took the time to understand my wants and needs and those of my family,” said Monroe. “So I have a personal connection to him, and I always want to honor his memory, not only for what he has done for me, but also for what he has done for other student athletes, as a mentor, as someone who was always ready to be. capable of teaching us to become good basketball players and to reconcile studies and life. “
The scholarship is the second basketball-related entity named in Charles’ honor since his death. At the end of 2019, men’s basketball head coach Jamion Christian revamped the team’s mentoring program and renamed it the Leroy Charles Mentorship Program, to connect student-athletes with professionals. in their desired areas of interest.
Monroe said Christian had also worked to help set up the scholarship and noted that new women’s basketball coach Caroline McCombs will be recruited “shortly” to help facilitate a smooth deployment.
He said members of the GW community, especially basketball alumni, have contributed to the fund due to Charles’ continued mentorship beyond their years at GW, which in some cases spanned the day. of his death. Monroe added that Charles’s former colleagues at GW Hospital were also key contributors to the fund.
“Its impact among program staff, faculty and friends is enormous,” said Monroe. “Leroy was a season subscriber so he was very involved, very engaged with the GW community and had a vested interest in seeing student athletes succeed, and so everyone is happy to see his name and his efforts continue to be recognized. today. “
He said the scholarship program will help foster a greater sense of community by engaging alumni and potentially boosting recruitment efforts.
“Someone starts something and then people say, ‘Hey, this is what I want to be a part of,’” Monroe said. “So from a recruiting point of view, for coaches from an alumni engagement point of view, from a faculty and staff point of view, it’s great, and it shows that the GW community really cares. of his student athletes and wants to put them in the best possible position. “