The Tennessean, Tennessee State University and other organizations have partnered to create a new scholarship in the name of the late Getahn Ward that will benefit aspiring journalists at TSU.
The Getahn Ward Memorial Scholarship, announced Dec. 19, will be awarded to a journalism student each year that meets qualifications established by the school’s Department of Communications. Other partners include the National Association of Black Journalists and the Gannett Foundation.
Ward, a business reporter at the Tennessean since 1998, who was known for his real estate scoops, deep sources and bulldog approach, died on Dec. 9 after a brief illness. Ward, an active community leader, was also a longtime adjunct professor at TSU and a proud alum of the university. He was 45.
Ward, who previously worked at the Nashville Banner before it closed in 1997, had a passion for teaching students and advocating for Black journalists.
The new scholarship is the first endowed scholarship in the history of TSU’s Department of Communications.
“At a time when our majors are working multiple jobs to offset the cost of a college education, this will go a long way in helping some of our best and brightest students,” said Tameka Winston, who chairs the TSU Dept. of Communications. “This scholarship represents a man who devoted much of his life to the field of journalism and to the education and success of students at Tennessee State University.”
The goal of organizers is to raise $25,000, which would be the minimum required to establish an annual scholarship in perpetuity.
The financial value of the scholarship will be determined by how much money is raised. If the goal of $25,000 is reached, the scholarship would be $1,000 per student annually. It would increase if more money is raised.
Winston said the department is also finalizing plans to honor Ward in a way that will give him “permanent recognition” within the department and university.
“He was one of the kindest individuals that I’ve ever met and the news of his passing is heartbreaking,” Winston said. “Getahn was a stellar professor and the department will never be able to replace him.”