Promising Scholars Fund

for African American students pursuing higher education

2020 Promising Scholars Fund Scholarship Recipients
2019 Promising Scholars Fund Scholarship Recipients
2018 Promising Scholars Fund Scholarship Recipients
Support the Promising Scholars Fund by being a sponsor or signing up to play at the annual Promising Scholars Fund Golf Classic which takes place in September at Race Brook Country Club in Orange. For more information, view the brochure here or email the Fund.

Expanding Access to Education One Student At A Time

Access to education can make the difference between individuals succeeding in adulthood or struggling to get by. That's why Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Beta Tau Boule' of New Haven, Connecticut, created the Promising Scholars Fund and the Edward A. Bouchet Scholarship (scroll to learn more about Bouchet). The Fund works to reduce economic barriers to college education by providing scholarships to African American students. The goal is to provide scholarships for all four years, but more resources are required to make that dream a reality.

There are multiple ways you can support African American students through the Promising Scholars Fund:
  1. Make an outright gift to the Fund (below) to support annual scholarships for students. Donate Now
  2. Create a lasting legacy of support by including The Promising Scholars Fund in your estate planning.
  3. Support the annual Golf Tournament. Email the fund for sponsorship information or to play in the tournament.
  4. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about us.

About the Edward A. Bouchet Scholarship

In 1876, New Haven native Edward A. Bouchet became the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from any American university when he was awarded his PhD in physics from Yale. Bouchet had entered Yale College in 1870 as an undergraduate and went on to earn his bachelor's degree. He was awarded highest honors and was nominated and then initiated into Phi Beta Kappa. In the fall of 1874 he returned to Yale with the financial support of a Philadelphia philanthropist, Alfred Cope. In 1876, Bouchet successfully completed his dissertation on the new subject of geometrical optics, becoming the first black person to earn a Ph.D. from an American university as well as the sixth American of any race to earn a Ph.D. in physics. After his studies at Yale, Bouchet pursued a life of teaching.

In honor of Bouchet, the Beta Tau Boulé, a New Haven-based African-American professional fraternity, established a scholarship to promising college-bound African-American students from Connecticut. In 2007, the Boule' transferred its assets to The Community Foundation, thereby establishing the Promising Scholars Fund.

"What we've designed fits the diversity of members in the Boulé. It's purposeful cloning modeled after the Grand Boulé social action program. We really want to establish legacies when it comes to contributing to the growth of American society, most specifically, the growth and advancement of people who look like us," explains Dr. Curtis Patton, a Promising Scholars Fund board member.

When asked why the Beta Tau Boulé decided to entrust its assets to The Foundation, Al Johnson, former president of the Promising Scholars Fund board, said, "The Foundation has a solid track record of investment performance. As an endowed scholarship fund, Promising Scholars can benefit greatly from The Foundation's experienced money management team, which should over time produce higher returns than our past results."

Promising Scholar recipients demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, leadership and community service. A preference is given to students from the New Haven area. Bouchet scholarship winners receive up to $6,000 per year and are invited to an awards ceremony and personally connect with Bata Tau members. Past recipients may reapply to the program each year they meet eligibility requirements.

In 2021 due to COVID-19 complications for both school systems and concerns for holding an in-person award ceremony, the Fund's board decided to only accept applications from previous recipients currently matriculating. Eleven scholars qualified and were awarded $4,000 each.

The scholarship program aims to have an impact on improving African American educational attainment, particularly among males. The amount of scholarship awards is ultimately dependent on continued support from donors to the Fund; contributions are tax deductible. Thank you for your support!

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$44,000 Awarded in 2021 to Eleven Bouchet Scholarship Recipients

In 2021 due to COVID-19 complications for both school systems and concerns for holding an in-person award ceremony, the Promising Scholars Fund decided to only accept applications from previous recipients currently matriculating. Eleven scholars qualified and were awarded $4,000 each.

Despite Pandemic, 2020 Awards Ceremony Inspires

Though the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the 2020 Edward A. Bouchet Scholarship Awards Ceremony could not be held in person, a virtual ceremony took place on May 16. The online Zoom format could not dampen the spirits of these seven inspiring recipients, nor diminish their impressive accomplishments in any way.

Boulé Leadership on Edward A. Bouchet

At a past Promising Scholars Fund awards ceremony, Boule member Dr. Curtis Patton spoke talked about the life and lessons that can be learned from Edward A. Bouchet, in whose name Promising Scholars Fund scholarships are awarded.

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