As an admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University, DePayne Middleton-Doctor often spoke about her four daughters: Gracyn, Kaylin, Hali and Czana.
In response to Middleton-Doctor’s death in the Emanuel AME massacre, SWU will honor her life and legacy by offering full tuition scholarships to each of her four children, should they decide to attend.
“Right now, more than anything, we want DePayne’s children to know we love them,” Todd Voss, SWU president, said in a statement. “We want to honor DePayne’s service to SWU and her belief in Christian higher education as an important element in Gracyn, Kaylin, Hali and Czana’s future success.”
Family and friends said goodbye to Middleton-Doctor, who was studying to be a minister, at her funeral service held Sunday at Emanuel AME.
Chad Peters, Vice President for Enrollment Management at SWU, said the scholarship, which recognizes Middleton-Doctor’s service at the university, would cover the entire enrollment tuition for each child. As it stands currently, the total basic cost for enrollment at SWU is $31,490 per year.
“We realize the scholarships won’t ease the pain of loss that the children are dealing with now,” Peters added in the statement. “In the future; however, it is our desire as a community for each of them to know we care about them.”
Before Middleton-Doctor joined the SWU team less than a year ago, she received her master’s degree in management from the university in 1994.
Ed Welch, Assistant Director of Communications at SWU, recalled Middleton-Doctor’s enthusiasm for interacting with students. He said education was a big priority for her and something she wanted for her children.
“She was passionate about higher education,” Welch told NBCBLK. “This passion for education spills over to her daughters and we believe that she would be thrilled to see that this is being made possible for her daughters to realize a dream for higher education.”
SWU is a Christian institution of higher education. Her colleagues say her faith as a Christian was big part of who Middleton-Doctor was as a mother and a professional.
“She cared about her family. She cared about her children and she wanted to see them pursue a higher education to advance professionally,” Welch said. “At SWU, we believe in advancing professionally and advancing spiritually and that was a value she shared.”