Alumnus creates scholarship endowment
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Sophia Holley Ellis (B.A. Biology and German 1949, M.S. Botany 1950, M.A. German 1964) retired in June 2006 after 56 years as a biology and German teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. Over the years, she has privately funded several students’ college education. Now, through a $25,000 gift creating the Sophia Holley Ellis Scholarship endowment, Ellis will extend her support to students with financial need in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts – with priority given to students from the Detroit Public Schools. The scholarship was established in June 2009 with the first one awarded during academic year 2011-2012.
“The University is the reason I am,” said Ellis. “When I came to campus I had never used a telephone, never seen a movie or been to a restaurant. As a young black girl, if it hadn’t been for the U-M, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do so many things. I hope this scholarship will bring kids like me to Michigan—students who are smart but just wouldn’t have the money to come to our great school otherwise—the kids who are dreamers.”
Antoyrie Green, the first student to receive the Ellis Scholarship said that this award meant so much to her for two reasons: “how much of burden it took off of my parents when I received the scholarship” and “how inspirational Sophia and her story are.”
“I love to compare Sophia and her scholarship to a ram in the bush,” referring to a bible verse. “I didn't know how I was going to get the last bit of money to pay for school, but God blessed me with that scholarship and I will be forever thankful!
“As a black woman on the campus of the University of Michigan, I am inspired to hear stories like Sophia's. Stories of black women who came before me, defied all the odds, and pursued (and reached) their dreams only push me to do the same.
“As for my future, I plan on becoming a clinical psychologist for children, hopefully in Detroit. After learning about Sophia and her career as a teacher in Detroit, I can only image the huge impact she has had on her students. I hope that I am able to impact the life of someone half as much as she did and that one day, my story will inspire someone just as her story has inspired me!”
Read Ellis' full alumnus feature on EEB's alumni news page, the EEB buzz.
Caption: Sophia Holley Ellis and Antoyrie Green