The love and support that A.J. Slater gave students at Metropolitan Community College-Blue River will carry on after his death, thanks to a new MCC scholarship.
The A.J. Slater Memorial Scholarship Fund will recognize student advocates of the LGBTQ+ community and honor the legacy of Slater, Blue River’s Campus Life & Leadership coordinator for 11 years starting in 2005. Slater died Aug. 9, 2017.
The scholarship committee has just started raising funds and hopes to award the first scholarship in Fall 2019.
In a flyer for the scholarship, Slater is remembered as “a strong supporter and advocate for all diverse groups, especially the LGBTQ+ community. Without blinking, A.J. would extend a helping hand and a warm heart to anyone in need. Even on his worst day, you could walk into his office and still feel like the most important person to A.J.”
Kourtney Cox, a 2016 MCC-Blue River grad now attending Northwest Missouri State University, remembers Slater as funny, energetic and outgoing — “one of my favorite people on campus.”
To know Slater “was to have someone who was always in your corner, who was always up for a laugh, and who made everyone feel accepted,” says David Owens, Blue River’s head soccer coach. “His loss has been felt so deeply by the MCC community because of the love and selflessness that A.J. put into every one of his interactions with others.”
Jenni Mahurin, an MCC-Blue River graduate who now works as a student services assistant in the counseling department, shared something she wrote when she learned of Slater’s death:
“Your love and support to your students is undeniable, and I hope to give back to the community as much as you did for ours. Those of us who love you are blessed to carry the love, support, joy, service and much, much more to the world because of you.”
Julianne Jacques, international student counselor at MCC-Penn Valley, says Slater worked relentlessly to create activities at Blue River that would complement academic programs. MCC colleagues, in conjunction with friends and family members, established the scholarship through the MCC Foundation “to recognize his dedication to community service and education,” Jacques says.
Applicants for the scholarship — any MCC student — will answer this essay question: “What Have You Done for Yourself Lately? Describe the ways you have been an advocate for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Gender Non-Conforming, +, Ally community (on or off campus) and in what specific activities have you participated?”
As is the case with any endowed MCC scholarship, the committee must raise at least $10,000 before a scholarship can be awarded.
Click here to make an online contribution to the A.J. Slater Memorial Scholarship Fund. Or send a check to MCC Foundation, 3200 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111 (put A.J. Slater in memo line).
MCC employees who’d like to give through payroll deduction can find the form here.
The scholarship committee will also be planning fundraisers for next semester. Students or employees who would like to work on upcoming projects can submit their contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MCC employees who launched the scholarship fund see the effort as “a way to use our grief in a way that would honor the A.J. we knew and loved,” Jacques says.
“He would be touched by a memorial scholarship,” Owens adds, “because it serves students and provides opportunity, which is what A.J. was all about.”