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Uplifting Communities: Arthur T. Gerald, Jr. Scholarship Fund

Reverend Arthur T. Gerald ’12H first joined the Salem State community in 1972 as the advisor to the Afro- American Society. The following year, he became the director of the minority affairs program, with the mission of helping to recruit additional students of color. It quickly became clear that bringing students of color to campus wasn’t enough—the school also needed to provide resources to help them succeed on campus. Arthur’s position was shifted from student life to academic affairs, and the focus became persistence and support. He and his colleagues helped develop a summer program for incoming students and created what was then called the Learning Center—now the Center for Academic Excellence—to ensure that every student not only had a place at Salem State, but also had the academic support they needed to thrive in the classroom.  

“If I can help somebody as I travel on, then my living will not be in vain. And if we all live by that mandate, I believe the world will be a far better place for everyone.”  

—Reverend Arthur T. Gerald ’12H, campaign steering committee member  

Arthur remained an important voice for inclusivity from the moment he stepped foot on campus until he retired from his role as associate dean in 2010. In 2009, he and his wife Henrietta ’75 endowed the Arthur T. Gerald, Jr. Scholarship Fund to continue his work of helping students of diverse backgrounds attend, succeed and realize their dreams at Salem State. Students like Keyla Romero- Velasquez ’23 and Sherika Casseus ’24.  

Already the first in her family to graduate high school, Keyla was determined to earn her college degree. “I pay my own bills and buy my own food. For a while, I was working 30 to 40 hours every week at Starbucks on top of going to class, but I had to stop because it was taking a toll on my mental health,” says Keyla, an interdisciplinary studies major. “I want the Geralds to know their contribution to my education is deeply appreciated.”  

“With this scholarship I will be able to continue my education in hopes of working in the school community to provide a more culturally relevant curriculum for all students in the United States,” says Sherika, an education major with a concentration in educational studies and community education. “I hope those that made this a possibility for me stay blessed.”  

Making the decision to support student scholarship was simple for Arthur. “I’m indebted to all those who helped me get where I am in life,” he says. “And as I have been helped, so must I help others.”  

Alumni Relations
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