Oprah and Morehouse

Scholar Profiles

In 1990, several men of Morehouse from various backgrounds became the first of what has now grown to more than 400 Morehouse Men who have been assisted with furthering their educations by Oprah Winfrey and the Oprah Scholars program. Those young men have gone on to successful careers in banking, law, medicine and many other fields. Here are some of their stories.

'A Ripple Effect That Helps Us All'

Todd CampbellFor Todd L. Campbell ’95, financial constraints brought him to an unwelcome crossroads:  go back home and attend a public college, or work extra jobs and stay at Morehouse.

He wanted to stay at Morehouse. After all,  it wasn’t until he came to the ‘House that he found an educational home. For the first time, he said, he was surrounded by black men who had goals and big dreams of making a difference.

The Oprah scholarship spared him from a difficult decision.

“That scholarship energized me and recharged me,” he said. “I knew it was an honor to get it. It took all of the financial pressure off and I didn’t want to let anybody down—especially my family and Oprah.”

He now wants to help pay Oprah’s generosity forward.

“I want people to understand that it’s not just about making it,” he said. “If we work to help others, it creates a ripple effect that helps all of us."

 

'We Are Called for Excellence'

Brandon DouglasBrandon L. Douglas ’09 saw the summons to appear on one of the final episodes of the “Oprah Winfrey Show” as just another step in a lifelong calling to service, which for him, began when he became an Oprah Scholar.

“It continues to solidify the Morehouse experience and that we are still called for excellence,” said Douglass. “It’s as though we’re stamped for life, to have an excellent life helping others live a purpose-led life.”

Douglas has heeded the call. In 2007, while traveling to South Africa as one of the Oprah Winfrey Global Leadership Scholars, he and Mauri Robinson ’09 founded Bridging the Gap, a scholarship fund that has helped 45 South African students pay their $150 yearly tuition.

After Hurricane Katrina, he helped build six homes in Meridian, Miss.

He plans to continue shining his light of service, hoping to revive the Bridging the Gap scholarship. The call to appear on the Surprise Spectacular reignited his passion.

“[The Surprise Spectacular} was nothing short of amazing,” he said. “I call Oprah an incandescent light in a halogen world.”

     

'It's About Philanthropy'

In his senior year, Oluwabusayo “Tope” Folarin ’04 had a grade point average of 4.0. He was only months from being named the College’s third Rhodes Scholar, which allowed him to pursue two master’s degrees at England’s Oxford University and eventually work in Google’s London office for two years.

None of it would have happened save for the Oprah Scholarship. Technical reasons had caused him to lose a previous scholarship, so he was working 40 hours a week to pay bills.

“I was persevering,” he said.

At a gathering of Oprah Scholars just hours before the “Surprise Spectacular” show, Folarin was thankful that perseverance and philanthropy paid off.

“It’s about her tonight and her philanthropy,” he said. “It is great for alumni to reconnect under such wonderful conditions.”