The Willie Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund motivates students to finish strong – News

Trejuan Hicks ’21 has learned to be flexible.

In 2004, his family was among those affected by Hurricane Katrina. They moved from New Orleans to a low-income neighborhood in Chicago. From there, the family moved again. Adaptation to changing environments made Hicks stronger.

“I have been blessed with my life experiences, as my upbringing helped shape the strong and resilient man I am today,” said the recent College of Finance graduate.

Hicks moved to Illinois from Elgin Community College. Before the transfer, he worked hard to save money to cover his daily expenses. Hicks also pursued every available scholarship, but his GPA at the time prevented him from applying for some.

“I was bitter at first for not receiving an award after a tough summer at school and work,” he said. “It made me work harder for the fall and try again.”

The work paid off when he received support from the Willie Brown Scholarship Fund. Hicks said the scholarship gave him more time to focus on thriving during his final year.

“It made my mother proud that I took the lead in using my resources,” he said.

Hicks feels a connection between founding donor Willie Brown MS ’73 and other recipients.

Brown retired as Executive Vice President of State Farm Insurance Companies in 2009. As an active leader in the Bloomington-Normal community, he established the scholarship to support non-traditional business school students committed to civic engagement.

Hicks is now focused on becoming his best self. After graduation, he moved again, this time to Orange County, California. He works for Consolidated Analytics, a real estate and real estate firm.

The scholarship inspires Hicks to seek opportunities to give back. “I will continue to work and will one day be in a position to give back to those who deserve the opportunity as the Willie Brown Scholarship Fund did to me,” he said.

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