Josepha DaCosta of Madison La Follette High School and Gueda Daff of Madison East High are the two recipients of this year’s Madison alumni chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s 2023 Dr. John Y. Odom/Mu Eta Lambda Scholarship.
“Our whole goal is to just provide some educational opportunities for graduating seniors, who will be attending a two or four-year institution the following semester. The scholarship is in the amount of $1,000,” Ezi Adesi, vice president of the Mu Eta Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., tells Madison365. “It’s an opportunity to help students during their freshman year by providing them the aid they need to be successful.”
Both students will be attending UW-Madison in the fall. “We love to see such great caliber of students stay here in Madison and pursue their careers,” Adesi says.
The scholarship is named for the late educator and civil rights activist Dr. John Y. Odom, who founded several local organizations and initiatives, including the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, a teaching center to promote economic independence among Black youth. Dr. Odom was the president of Odom & Associates and a lifetime member of the NAACP, including being a past president of the local branch of the NAACP. He authored the following books: “Saving Black America: An Economic Plan for Civil Rights,” “Vote Every Time,” “No N-r Please: 22 Reasons to Stop Saying the N-Word in Public,” and countless newspaper and magazine articles.
“Dr. John Odom did many great things in our community and we were able to name this scholarship after him last year,” Adesi says.
The Dr. John Y. Odom/Mu Eta Lambda Scholarship is for area seniors that reside in Dane County that have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and they must already be enrolled in an institution of higher academics.
“The students go through an interview process. We look at the overall quality of the application, interview preparation, how well they articulate their presentation,” Adesi says. “We look at professionalism, grammar, sentence structure, and answering the essay question. We also look at their personal statement and letter of recommendations. We look at academic achievement. We factor in their financial need, extracurricular activities, character and what their career objectives are their careers.”
Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American Men, was founded on December 4, 1906, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York by seven college men who recognized the need for a strong bond of brotherhood among African descendants in this country.
“Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. develops leaders, promotes brotherhood and academic excellence while providing service and advocacy for our communities. That’s our mission,” Adesi says. “That’s what we aim to do and we’ve done it since 1906. We have many chapters all around the United States including this chapter right in Madison, an alumni chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. “
The Mu Eta Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. was chartered in Madison on Feb. 13, 1976.
“The Dr. John Y. Odom/Mu Eta Lambda Scholarship is an important scholarship,” Adesi says. “It is just another way for us to give back and to help a student who is recognized for their academic achievement, their social consciousness and how motivated they are and how dedicated they are not only to their schools, but the overall community. It’s important that we recognize that and that’s what we aim to do.”