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MCC Alumnus Creates Endowed Scholarship To Honor Influential Professor

By Tyronda James
tyrondajames@minorityreporter.net

Honored MCC Professor V. Sumati Devadutt stands with alumnus Rafe R. (Reggie) Ellison ’97. Photo provided.

Professor V. Sumati Devadutt joined the faculty of Monroe Community College (MCC) in 1968. Over her 40-year career at the college, she held leadership roles in academic governance and served as chair and Interim Dean for the Liberal Arts division.

A college professor can be an advocate, guidance counselor and overall support system for students in addition to being an educator. Prof. Devadutt exemplified these qualities and more during her career and during her tenure, many MCC students blossomed academically as a result of her efforts.

MCC alumnus Rafe R. (Reggie) Ellison ’97 was one of those students and because of the profound impact Professor Devadutt had on him, he has established an endowed scholarship in her honor. 

“She saw her students’ potential and helped them grow academically, including working with students to broaden their view of what they could achieve,” Ellison said.

The Professor V. Sumati Devadutt Award for Academic Excellence Endowed Scholarship is $1,000 and will be awarded annually to two minority students with financial need and graduates of the Rochester City School District. 

Eligibility for the Scholarship is a follows;

  • Full or part-time students.
  • Returning student (at least one-year after graduating from high school).
  • Minimum of 30 completed credits.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Capacity to succeed in a bachelor degree program.
  • Rochester City School District graduate.
  • Two scholarships; an African American male student and a student of color (African American, Asian, Latinx, or Native American).

This year’s deadline of Mar. 15, however, is swiftly approaching.

Professor Devadutt joined MCC faculty as a member of the History and Political Science department, teaching courses in Western Civilization and eventually transitioned to teaching courses in Sociology. Professor Devadutt retired in 2008 and now lives in New York City. Professor Devadutt’s unyielding dedication to her students at MCC’s Downtown Rochester Campus greatly contributed to their success at MCC and beyond.

Ellison views this scholarship as an expression of how deeply impactful Professor Devadutt’s contributions continue to be for him and many of her students. In September 1995, Ellison was a night-shift janitor, one year removed from military service in the United States Army and four years removed from barely graduating from high school. Six years after enrolling in Professor Devadutt’s Sociology 101 course, he graduated from Princeton University with a Master in Public Affairs. 

Ellison credits his academic journey to Professor Devadutt because of the potential she saw in him and the time and effort she spent to cultivate it. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University at Buffalo and a Master of Science in real estate from Johns Hopkins University. 

The award will support students like Ellison and others who benefited from Professor Devadutt’s dedication. He hopes it will be an example of the tremendous influence engaged professors can have on the lives of their students, especially those with non-traditional higher education paths.

Proud, Ellison first shared the endowment with close family members only. 

“I am pretty proud of the scholarship and happy about the potential positive impact it will have on our hometown, and I hope you feel the same way,” Ellison noted. “I honored one of my MCC professors (Sumati) by establishing a scholarship for persons of color who graduated from Rochester City Schools.

In less than 30 days after establishment, Ellison said the endowment was greater than $50,000. As a result, two minority students each year will be awarded at least $1,000 for as long as MCC exists,” Ellison said.

Further information can be found at https://monroecc.academicworks.com/opportunities/5603.

Honorary gifts can be made online at www.monroecc.edu or Give Now.

If anyone wishes to make a gift by phone or check, please send to: MCC Foundation, 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14623 or call 585.292.3680.