The Cevonn L. Butler Entrepreneurial Spirit Scholarship
The purpose of the Cevonn (Vonn) L. Butler Entrepreneurial Spirit Scholarship is to provide financial assistance to Black high school graduates and those who are enrolled in higher education institutions who show a high degree of motivation to own their own business. Those applying must show evidence of a business venture or ventures while in high school or during early entry into higher education institutions.
The Vonn Scholarship was established by parents Lionel and Cathlene Butler, and their sons Stanley and Maurice, in memory of their son/brother Cevonn, who began business pursuits while in high school selling posters and t-shirts. He graduated from high school in 1991 and enrolled in Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, Texas.
Vonn left TSU in the late 1990s with only a few hours left to complete in his undergraduate program. Expanding his horizons over the next 15 years, he conducted business ventures in marketing and promotions nationwide of music and entertainment venues and returned to the School of Communications at TSU in 2013 to finish his undergraduate degree. He then enrolled in the Masters Program and also served as an adjunct professor.
Vonn's reputation inside of TSU’s School of Communication upon his return was that of someone who worked tirelessly, energetically, and passionately to improve students’ success outcomes. He worked with the Administration on several fronts. First, he believed that persons with successful businesses and careers could be a valuable asset addition to the staff and he influenced the Administration to engage such persons as part-time instructors. Secondly, as a seasoned entrepreneur who used the latest digital technology to promote music, movies and entertainment nationwide, Vonn quickly realized that the School’s equipment, broadcast techniques and software had fallen behind the pace of change. His mission became to make sure students had the right curriculum and equipment to acquire the necessary digital and professional skills to thrive in the 21st century, and was known to have used his own funds to help make this a reality. He was successful in that mission. He believed proficiency in digital technology provided great opportunities for entrepreneurial success.
Vonn's zeal in this life was tragically interrupted on September 3, 2016 when he was broad-sided by a drunk driver. He died in November 2016 from the serious injuries suffered in that crash.
We believe this scholarship is a fitting memorial to Cevonn and we hope it will contribute to making a positive difference in the recipients’ lives.
First Year Award
1. Applicant must have a desire to run his/her own business and must show evidence of this desire by having engaged in legal and moral entrepreneurial pursuits by which he/she has gained income.
2. Applicant must be a graduating senior from an accredited high school.
3. Applicant should have an overall grade point average of 2.5 or above on a 4.0-grade point system, or the equivalent in a 5.0-grade point system, or other grading systems.
4. Applicant must complete an application to this Scholarship.
5. Applicant must have applied to a college/ university before filing an application to the Scholarship. Following the announcement of the award by the Foundation, the awarded applicant must show proof of enrollment in the institution of learning before funds will be disbursed. Disbursement will consist of one half of the award in the first semester and one half of the award in the second semester of the first year, and will be made through the university to the recipient .
6. Applicant should possess and display good citizenship. Three letters of recommendation should accompany the application, with at least two being from the school system(s) attended. No recommendations will be accepted from family members.
7. Applicant must participate in an oral interview with the Foundation sponsors or their designated representative(s).
8. Applicant must submit a 500 word essay from a list of topics to be provided.
Second, Third or Fourth Year Awards
In order for a student to be considered for an award in the succeeding years s/he must qualify under the following conditions:
1. Applicant must have been a full-time student in the preceding academic year.
2. Applicant must have passing grades at the enrolled school and show proof.
3. Applicant must reapply and be approved by the Foundation.