Morgan State University Freshman Quamir Payton, a first-generation college student who boasts a 3.9 GPA, has earned the first $10,000 scholarship from a partnership between McDonald’s and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
McDonald’s, the fast-food giant, and the nonprofit Thurgood Marshall College Fund formed a partnership this year to provide five students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCus) with scholarships to cover tuition, fees, room and board and other school expenses for the coming year.
Payton earned the “Inspiration Celebration” scholarship, which is awarded to a student pursuing music education or performance. The scholarship counts as an extension of the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, now in its 12th year and carries the distinction of being the longest running gospel tour of its kind.
At each stop, the national tour raises a “love” offering to support families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities. In the last five years, the love offering has raised nearly $800,000 allowing families stay close when their children are ill. Nearly a quarter of a million dollars was raised in 2017 alone.
“The annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is so important to us as a brand. It allows us to further connect with the community as we empower one another to make a difference,” McDonald’s owner and operator Hazel Smith said in a news release. “Plus, we create a platform for our neighbors to join us in helping families stay close when their children are ill by raising donations for those served by local RMHC Chapters.”
The $10,000 Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarship is one of five scholarships McDonald’s has agreed to sponsor throughout the year.
“Having the privilege of being this year’s McDonalds Inspiration Celebration Scholarship recipient is a reminder that all of the hard work, blood, sweat, tears and time that I have sacrificed to perfect my craft have not gone in vain,” Payton said. “Music is a part of my being and my only dream is to master and cultivate my gift and use it to inspire others. With this scholarship, I now have the chance to continue my education and grow as a musician, vocalist and young scholar.”
Payton, who received the scholarship during the Atlanta concert stop in front of about 5,000 spectators at the Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, says he will use the award to continue pursuing musical theater.
“The scholarship will help me cover the cost of attending Morgan State University. That includes books for classes and money toward the cost of living on campus,” Payton said.
“Trying to cover the cost of school is a daily struggle that my family and I have to endure. This scholarship has lifted some of the stress and strain off my family's shoulders, and for that I am eternally grateful for McDonald’s and everyone who has played a part in selecting me as this year's scholarship recipient.”
Dior George, the U.S. Marketing Representative for McDonald’s says the scholarship continues the company’s mission in supporting the communities it serves.
“McDonald’s goal has long been to support economic empowerment through academic and professional achievement, areas which are part of TMCF’s core mission as they are the largest HBCU-specific scholarship organization,” George said. “McDonald’s and TMCF have been offering joint scholarships since 2005. However, the Inspiration Celebration Scholarship awarded to Quamir Payton is the first of its kind.”