College students from across the country visited St. Louis July 31 through August 2 to participate in the third-annual Legends of the Crown scholarship program and leadership symposium. Legends of the Crown is an Anheuser-Busch program that, in partnership with UNCF, awards $5,000 scholarships to 30 exceptional students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The three-day leadership symposium gives scholars access to educational and professional development opportunities with A-B and UNCF executives, and community leaders.
Inspired by the “Great Kings and Queens of Africa” art collection commissioned by Anheuser-Busch in 1975, the leadership symposium gives student leaders exposure and access to educational and professional development opportunities with Anheuser-Busch and UNCF executives, and St. Louis community leaders. Created by 25 unique artists, each collection piece depicts an African leader and underscores the message of leadership on which the Legends of the Crown educational program was built.
The symposium kicked-off with scholars contributing to a special Legends of the Crown chalk drawing created by Art Saint Louis that brought to life select images from the original 30-piece Great Kings and Queens of Africa collection. From there, students took a guided tour of St. Louis, visiting some of the city’s most historic and rich sites. The evening concluded with dinner at the popular Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust, and scholars were surprised with a rousing talk by Sweetie Pie’s Miss Robbie.
On Friday, motivational speaker Gian Paul Gonzalez, best known for his inspirational work with professional athletes, delivered the keynote address. Gonzalez encouraged attendees to go “ALL IN” with a rally cry that illustrated the importance of being resilient and committed to achieving dreams and reaching our full potential.
The day’s activities included a private tour of the St. Louis Brewery, and resume workshops and mock interviews with Anheuser-Busch leaders to help scholars prepare to enter the job market. Additional executives and community leaders were on-hand to facilitate high-energy panel discussions on leadership development. And, new this year, previous scholarship recipients were there to share words of wisdom and guidance with the new class.
That evening, during a special dinner held in their honor, students were awarded scholarships from Julio Suárez, Senior Director, Community Affairs, Anheuser-Busch, and UNCF Vice President of Development Paulette Jackson. Dinner guests also enjoyed a special performance by Kingdom House African Drum and Dance Troupe.
The symposium concluded on Saturday with the focus shifting to community service. Jackson, Teach for America-St. Louis Executive Director Brittany Packnett, and others led morning sessions highlighting the importance of community and servant leadership. Students then joined St. Louis-based artist Cbabi Bayoc and Anheuser-Busch and UNCF representatives at Kingdom House, a local social services organization, to beautify the site’s walls with a new mural. Conceived by Bayoc, the colorful mural features students dreaming big as professionals and leaders in the education, healthcare, culinary and science industries. The finished piece is displayed on a Kingdom House wall for visitors and constituents to enjoy.
Legends of the Crown scholarships are awarded annually to eligible student leaders entering their junior year of study at a four year accredited HBCU. Recipients are required to have a 3.2 GPA or higher, strong leadership skills and must be pursuing a major in science, technology, engineering, math, business or marketing. For more information about the scholarship program, visit uncf.org.