The Promise movement welcomed an enormous star to the fold yesterday as LeBron James announced that he has partnered with the University of Akron to provide four-year scholarships to 1,100 qualified students from his “I Promise” program.
The award would cover tuition and fees at the University and the total commitment could be more than $40 million.
Calling himself “just a kid from Akron,” James told FOX Sports that that was the reason he was funding these scholarships. “These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there,” he said. “They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”
The complete formula for receiving the scholarship is still being finalized by the University and the LeBron James Family Foundation. Among the expectations of qualifiers will be the graduation from an Akron public high school, testing standards and a community service obligation.
“It means so much because, as a kid growing up in the inner city and a lot of African-American kids, you don’t really think past high school,” said James, who bypassed college to jump to the NBA. “You don’t really know your future. You hear high school all the time, and you graduate high school and then you never think past that because either it’s not possible or your family’s not financially stable to even be able to support a kid going to college.”
The University of Akron will also be renaming its education department in honor of James. Beginning in 2021, the graduates of the program will have earned degrees from the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education.
It should also be noted that a former NBA player frequently compared to James — Magic Johnson — has been an enthusiastic fundraiser for the Lansing Promise in his Michigan hometown.