Dear F&M Posse Community,
In 2016, I walked in the Franklin & Marshall College graduation ceremony, this time as a member of the board of trustees. As I walked up the aisle in my oddly-shaped hat and long robe, I nervously scanned the audience for familiar faces and locked eyes with Keiran Miller, class of 2015, and a member of Posse 7. I shot him a small acknowledging smile, and in return, he shouted, “Shawn, I see you!” He made me hold my head a little higher. That small gesture made my board colleagues smile, and it filled me with tremendous gratitude to have people in my life who continue to lift me up. It was good to be seen that day.
The weight of this year is challenging to put into words. From the global pandemic to the ongoing fight for racial justice, the last few months have been nothing short of overwhelming, emotional, and stressful. We are all impacted in some way. In April, my father contracted COVID-19, and after nearly two weeks in the hospital, he lost his life. Since then, my family has received an outpouring of love from friends who’ve become family and mentors and former students who continue to enrich my life. My dad did not attend college, which made him sincerely appreciate Posse and every member of F&M Posse 2 for making sure I was seen at every step in my journey. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted our communities, and for those of you who also lost loved ones, my heart goes out to you.
In honor of the many people who are no longer with us and the families that are forever impacted, I am writing to ask for your help to establish the “Be Seen Fund,” an endowed scholarship for an F&M Posse Scholar. Although Posse scholars are guaranteed a full-tuition scholarship, those funds are drawn entirely from the F&M financial aid budget, which in the time of COVID-19 is severely under threat. This new endowed scholarship will provide financial aid for one Posse Scholar per year.
We are about halfway to our goal of $200,000, and I hope you will consider donating to this effort. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, all gifts will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000. If we reach our goal of $200,000, we’ll unlock an additional $50,000 provided generously by the Board of Trustees.
So much has changed since I graduated from F&M as part of the second Posse in 2010. This year there are over 160 Posse F&M alumni and 80 on-campus Posse Scholars. While F&M continues to enroll Posse Scholars from New York, in 2011, the college expanded its relationship with Posse by adding a STEM Posse from Miami. The support of Posse Scholars and other low-income students is dependent on the availability of need-based financial aid.
The Posse community has always been a source of inspiration and support for many of us, and it’s so important to me to help extend that same good fortune to future F&M Posse alumni.
I know this is a tough time, so give if you can and whatever amount you can.
Shawn M. Jenkins
Posse 2 Scholar