Professor Creates Her Legacy of Opportunity for Future Students

Geralyn Stephen

Dr. Geralyn Stephens' gift ensures her support for Wayne State and diversity continues even after her lifetime.

Nearly 30 years ago, Geralyn Stephens '88 M.Ed., '94 D.Ed. forged what would become a lifelong friendship with her graduate school advisor at Wayne State University, Professor Lola V. Jackson.

"Being African American and coming from a certain socioeconomic background, there are certain things I did not know," says Dr. Stephens. "She taught me not only about the field of career and technical education, but also professional networking strategies too. I wouldn't have been prepared for my career without her."

Now an associate professor at Wayne State University herself, Dr. Stephens has created an endowed scholarship through an estate gift to help working single parents with their education.

"The intent is to help the disenfranchised, and I've tried to target a certain population because I know the help was not available for me," says Dr. Stephens, who earned her Wayne State degrees while raising a child on her own.

In the U.S., 66 percent of single-parent households include racial minorities. By creating a scholarship that will most likely help students of color, Dr. Stephens believes she is strengthening Wayne State's commitment to diversity.

"Our university says they have a commitment to diversity," Dr. Stephens says, "and I'm hoping my gift will continue to move us beyond rhetoric into practice."

Dr. Stephens sees establishing an endowed fund as a way to continue impacting society even after she's gone. "Giving a gift is a legacy, so 100 years from now I'll still be trying to do the right thing in this world, but through this gift, it's evidence of my perpetual commitment to that."

To learn more about ways you can create a legacy of opportunity at Wayne State, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at or (313) 577-6481.