Hudson Kelley

Scholarships Matter is a series of stories highlighting students in the College of Arts and Sciences who have received and been impacted by scholarships. The student featured in this story is the recipient of two University-wide scholarships and five College-wide scholarships, the Louise and John Baker Scholarship, the Charles Grayson Summersell Memorial Scholarship, the MarLa Stephenson Sayers Endowment Scholarship, the Lee David and Florence Black History Scholarship, and a scholarship through the Endowed Collegiate Fund. Scholarships like these are made possible by generous support from our alumni and friends.

Hudson Kelley’s first experience in humanitarian aid was as a 12-year-old when he went with his dad and other youth from his church on a mission trip to Argentina. They worked with children, ministered, helped to build churches, and provided food for the local people.

Kelley fell in love with humanitarian aid, and for the next nine of 10 years, he spent his summers giving back—in the Canary Islands, Guatemala, Panama, Austria, South Africa, Chile, and Ecuador. But to the senior history major, pursuing humanitarian aid as a career didn’t immediately stand out.

It was only when he went to Ecuador and saw the rampant sex trafficking problem there that he decided to leave the idea of a traditional career behind.

“In Ecuador, many children are forced from their own homes once they turn 12 or 13,” he said. “They don’t have any money or a way to make money, so when they leave, there are people waiting for them offering a life in prostitution.”

To help break the destructive cycle, Kelley and his group helped to build a new wing at the Hope House—a refuge for homeless girls. The new wing allowed the home to open its doors to more girls and give them the security and the opportunity for education that they deserve.

“I realized I didn’t want to work for a salary,” Kelley said. “I really wanted to work to change something, and if I had just worked for a paycheck at a desk job, I wouldn’t have felt like I’d fulfilled what I was supposed to do.”

Now, Kelley has his sights set on humanitarian work in the nonprofit sector, which is why, when Kelley graduates with a 4.3 GPA, he won’t be leaving UA just yet. He’ll be back in the fall to pursue a Master of Public Administration.

He has already applied to work with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, and his dream is to one day work in humanitarian relief at the federal level.

However, without scholarships, Kelley’s dream may not have been realized.

“There were a couple of years when I didn’t know if I was going to be able to come back to the University because I just didn’t have the money,” Kelley said. “Scholarships freed me up to stop thinking about tuition and how I was going to afford coming back to school so that I could focus on why I am here, where I am going, and what I am going to do when I get there.”

This summer, before he begins his graduate program, Kelley will travel to South Africa for the second time to continue work he has done there previously. In addition to his undergraduate scholarships, he was recently awarded the Alumni Association License Tag Fellowship, which will help him pay for his graduate work.

The College of Arts and Sciences Endowed Collegiate Fund was established by the Leadership Board of the College.  It is used to promote excellence and the education of deserving Arts and Sciences seniors and entering freshmen who have demonstrated outstanding achievement both in and outside of the classroom.

The Louise A. and John P. Baker Endowed Scholarship in Arts and Sciences was established in 1995 from gifts given by Dr. Omer A. Baker and Ms. Emily L. Baker to honor their parents, Louise A. and John P. Baker. Scholarships are awarded to students who are Alabama residents and who are pursuing a degree in the College of Arts and Sciences. Consideration is given to students who demonstrate financial need.

The Charles Grayson Summersell Memorial History Scholarship Award was established in 1990 from gifts given by Mrs. Frances S. Summersell, widow of Dr. Charles Grayson Summersell. Scholarships from this fund are awarded to full-time juniors and seniors studying history.

The Lee David and Florence Black History Scholarship is given to deserving undergraduate or graduate students majoring in history or English.

The MarLa Stephenson Sayers Endowed Scholarship was established in 1995 from gifts given by Dr. E. Roger Sayers, former president of The University of Alabama, to honor his wife, MarLa Stephenson Sayers. Priority for the award is given to full-time students who intend to pursue a degree in the College of Arts and Sciences.