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Ex-Razorback Brewer donates to UA African-American studies

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by Dustin Tracy, Northwest Arkansas Times

Former Razorback and Fayetteville High School basketball standout Ronnie Brewer shared his success with future University of Arkansas students on Wednesday. Brewer, who is going into his third season with the National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz, donated $ 50, 000 to the African-American studies program in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

“Without this bridge, I could not have gone across to my dreams,” Brewer explained when asked why he was giving back to his alma mater.

Charles Robinson, director of the program, said that the money would go towards a scholarship endowment for minority students.

“We’re really proud of Ronnie’s donation,” Robinson said. “We hope that other (past UA ) athletes will follow Ronnie’s foot steps and give to this program or other programs.”

Brewer played basketball for three years for the Razorbacks until 2006 when he was selected by the Jazz as a number 14 draft pick. He said he was working on a degree in broadcast journalism while attending school. He said when he decided to enter the NBA draft, his mother made him promise he would finish school in his time off.

“I have about 40 hours left,” Brewer said.

He added that he originally was going to major in English but after talking with counselors and teachers he decided he wanted more options than ” writing papers and teaching “when he graduated. So he switched to broadcast journalism because he felt it gave him more options for the future. He’s not taking online courses and summer classes to finish that degree.

Brewer said that as fun as athletics is, he doesn’t think he’d be where he was without his education.

“It starts academically. All athletes wouldn’t even be on the field or on the court if it weren’t for academics,” Brewer said.

The African-American studies program has a bit of a history. Robinson said it was established in 1969 but dwindled for many years due to lack of support. In 2004 Robinson said the university finally gave the program targeted funding. Since that time enrollment in the program has tripled. Robinson said that once the university made the program a priority it assured all those involved that the African-American studies program was a per- manent part of the UA’s landscape and community.

Robinson said that Brewer’s donation was the second $ 50, 000 donation the program’s seen this year. It received another donation earlier this summer from the CDI Corporation in Little Rock. He said he’d like to continue to utilize the university’s talent for fundraising and grow the endowment to as much as $ 1 million.

“Dr. (Martin Luther ) King Jr. said, ‘ I have a dream. ‘ Well, we not only have a dream, now we have a plan,” Robinson said.

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Written by Symphony

September 4, 2008 at 9:45 am

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