Corey Matthews stood in front of the news media at the Liacouras Walk on Temple University’s campus, boasting an owl tattoo on his right forearm.
Matthews, a Temple freshman, is a North Philadelphia kid who grew up at 10th and Jefferson street. And because of Cecil B. Moore Scholars Program, he can attend and be a Temple Owl free of any debt.
“With Ms. Paris’ (Williams) support, I was able to be awarded a scholarship,” Matthews said.
“I feel as though it’s a great opportunity for kids like me to be able to attend such a prestigious university.”
The program aligns with the university’s mission to commit $1 million to combat racism at Temple, announced by the office of former university President Richard Englert in October 2020.
“I have the pleasure and distinct honor to oversee the Cecil B. Moore Scholars Program,” said Paris Williams, assistant director of Student Engagement and Access.
“Which is a new initiative that was implemented through our anti-racism initiative out of the president’s office. And our mission and our goal are to bring academic pathways for students, right here in North Philadelphia who want to go to college.”
Cecil B. Moore Scholars receive full tuition for four years. Before their first semester, students in the program take a course with Williams to become acclimated and comfortable in the university’s environment. In addition, they are given tutoring sessions and opportunities to meet monthly as a group for support.
Matthews said he wants to follow in the likes of Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Agency and become a Black sports agent.
“I’m majoring in business management,” Matthews said.
“I want to be a sports agent. My whole point of majoring in business management at Temple is to network and build relationships and build connections with others at the Fox School of Business.”
State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said he is invested in North Philadelphia because not only does he represent the area, but he was born and raised in the area and attended Temple University.
He said he has a concerted interest in ensuring his alma mater accurately represents the neighborhood in which its bricks are laid. So when the university announced its presidential search, he was adamant that the committee find someone that reflects its community.
“I’ve been unabashed in calling Temple to be a good neighbor and to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion for our students,” Kenyatta said.
“I was not shy when the presidential search was happening, and we wanted to make sure that there was a search committee that reflected the diversity of Temple. I’m incredibly excited that President (Jason) Wingard is here and excited for his leadership,” he said. “The Cecil B. Moore Scholars Program presents a real opportunity for Temple to be right in line with founder Russell Conwell’s vision for this university.”
The program, which is named after Temple alumnus and noted civil rights activist Cecil B. Moore, helps 22 students from the eight North Philadelphia ZIP codes.
“We could not have a better legacy for Cecil B. Moore than to celebrate our city’s best students,” Wingard said.
“To provide them with full scholarships to come here and study at Temple University, the Cecil B. Moore Scholarship Program is a program that Temple University supports. Our students from the surrounding neighborhood, to be able to come here to Temple University, and have that support and study.”
Students who wish to apply for the next cohort have to apply for early admissions to the university by the Nov. 1 deadline.