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Gwendolyn Prater Ph.D.
Chair, Women Council for Philanthropy

Dr. John A. and Mrs. Mary Peoples, Jr.

Greetings from the Chair


In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Women’s Council for Philanthropy at Jackson State University cordially invites you to partner with us for our Inaugural Women’s Council for Philanthropy Luncheon honoring JSU’s legendary former president and first lady, Dr. John and Mrs. Mary Peoples. It will be held at the Country Club of Jackson on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 11:30 a.m.

The Women’s Council for Philanthropy at Jackson State University was created in 2007 with a mission to change the face of philanthropy by expanding the number of individuals from diverse backgrounds that see themselves as philanthropists through leadership, scholarship and mentorship. Our fundamental goals are to serve as role models, offer career mentorship, and provide financial support to students. Student ambassadors are prepared for leadership roles in their future professions.

The Council is comprised of a diverse group of professional female leaders and philanthropists who desire to increase knowledge, skills, and philanthropic values across generations ensuring that students learn that they have a responsibility to participate in civic life to build the common good. Thus, we have selected JSU’s President Emeritus and former first lady, Dr. John and Mrs. Mary Peoples, as the special honorees for our Inaugural Scholarship Luncheon. Dr. Peoples shepherded the University during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, when Jackson State University gained university status and now JSU boasts its rich history and current innovation which solidifies it as a leader in higher education in the State of Mississippi, the nation, and the world. At the same time, Mrs. Mary Peoples served our state as a long-time educator in the Jackson Public School system and as a community leader in support of numerous diverse civic organizations and programs.

Your gift will surely help us increase scholarship opportunities for our deserving students and support the continued development of student achievement, thereby supporting Jackson State University and the State of Mississippi to advance education and expand our positive “firsts.” These include: The state’s only accredited School of Public Health, and the first of its kind among Historically Black Colleges and Universities; JSU’s 6 product patents; and its world-renowned creative minds such as fashion designer, Patrick Kelly, a Mississippi native. Your support can help our student ambassadors to create other humanitarian “firsts.”

I look forward to your participation and support as we honor two of our state’s trailblazers, Dr. John and Mrs. Mary Peoples. I sincerely thank you and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. If you desire more information, please contact Constance Lawson, JSU Chief Development Officer, at [email protected] or 601-979-2357. 
With much appreciation,
Gwendolyn Spencer Prater, Ph.D. Chair, Women’s Council for Philanthropy