FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Former Arkansas basketball guard Ronnie Brewer announced on Wednesday a $50,000 gift to the university’s African American studies program in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
The gift is in support of scholarships for students enrolled in the program who are also interested in the journalism field.
The Fayetteville native is a current member of the NBA’s Utah Jazz. An early entry into the NBA, he was a lottery pick in 2006 after being selected by the Jazz with the 14th pick of the first round. He averaged 12.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 2008. In 12 playoff games, he averaged 10.2 points and 3.2 rebounds.
At Arkansas, he averaged 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and a Southeastern Conference-leading 2.6 steals as a junior in 2006 as Arkansas finished 22-10 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.
An honorable mention All-American as a junior, he was a two-time first-team All-SEC selection. He is 16th on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,416), tied for 10th in free throws made (326), eighth in steals (216) and 10th in assists (299).
“This program is really up and coming, and it will attract more minorities to the University of Arkansas,” he says. “Our state is diverse, and we need to reflect that on our campus.”
The African American studies program was established in 1969 and reinvigorated in 2004 when it received targeted funding. Charles Robinson, director of the program, came to the university at that time, and enrollment in the program has since tripled.
“Ronnie’s gift to our program shows his commitment to the future of this institution, and also to our diversity goals,” Robinson says. “I am grateful for his generosity and I look forward to awarding the scholarship money. It really can make all the difference for many of our students.”
Brewer says another reason for the gift is to show his love for his state and his university.
“I know how great Arkansas is,” he says. “You have to know where you’re from to know where you’re going. I want to represent my roots and my upbringing to the best of my ability. Giving back to the state’s university is one way I think I can do that. It shows that I am a very proud Arkansan and I believe in the future of the University of Arkansas.”
“Fulbright College is proud to have this relationship with one of Arkansas’ greatest,” Bill Schwab, interim dean of Fulbright College, says. “So early in his career, Ronnie understands the importance and value of giving back. When alumni and friends give, our university makes great strides, and this gift is no exception.”
Brewer left Arkansas following his junior season, which means he’s a year away from earning his degree in broadcast journalism.
“Before I turned pro, I had to convince my Mom that I would finish,” he says. “I studied for three years, so I’m close to finishing.
“Guys in the situation I’m in, you normally see them give back to athletics,” he says. “I’m not saying I won’t give to athletics, but I wanted to go out on a limb and do something different. I’m in a blessed situation financially. Hopefully this is the first of many gifts.”