It takes a special family to turn tragedy into hope and opportunity for others, but that’s exactly the kind of family Leslie Elise Adkins had. Adkins, an MBA student at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and a fellow of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, died on May 5, 2015, due to complications from chronic diabetes. Last week, her parents, Lynette and Kedrick Adkins, established a $1 million scholarship endowment through the Consortium in her memory.
Leslie had earned a full-tuition Consortium fellowship for her study at Marshall, completed all of the requirements for her MBA and was awarded her degree posthumously on May 15, 2015. She had received a job offer from Amazon the day she died.
The Consortium is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping promising African-American students and other underrepresented minorities earn their MBAs and advance in business through a combination of merit-based scholarships, a streamlined application process and a pre-MBA orientation program.
“Leslie was deeply committed to the mission of the Consortium and lived it out in her personal and professional life,” the Adkins said in a statement. “She would have wanted to show her gratitude to the Consortium for the opportunity extended to her.”
Consortium CEO and Executive Director Peter J. Aranda III praised the family’s generous gift. “Leslie fully embodied the spirit of the Consortium community. This gift secures her legacy for future generations of Consortium students,” he said in a statement.
The Leslie Elise Adkins Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships for African-American students, particularly women, with preference given to students attending USC’s Marshall School or the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where Leslie received her undergraduate degree.
Details regarding how students can apply for the scholarship will be provided on the Consortium’s website at a later date.