Harding University Students Receive Scholarship in Honor of Botham Jean

Harding University is keeping the memory of Botham Jean alive by granting four students from the university a scholarship in his name.

The Paul R. College of Business Administration announced on September 6 that four students from the college received the Botham Jean Business Scholarship, which is a scholarship that supports “historically under-represented populations as they pursue their degrees in the College of Business.” The students selected for the scholarship were chosen because of “their academic excellence and demonstrated leadership,” according to the statement.

The students have been identified by the university as Courtney Porter, a freshman from Memphis, Tennessee; Brittany Tate, a sophomore from San Diego, California; Tonio Montez, a junior from Carrollton, Texas; and Yui Kondo, a senior from Copley, Ohio. The students, who are all studying accounting, are the first recipients of the award.

The scholarships were in partnership with and established by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where Jean was hired as a risk assurance associate in July 2016 following an internship with them. Through personal contributions from PwC partners and staff and the PwC Matching Gift Program, the scholarship fund has grown to $600,000 as of September 1, according to the statement from the university.

“This scholarship is especially meaningful to Harding because it honors Botham’s life and continues his legacy at the University,” Bryan Burks, Vice President of University Advancement, said in the statement.

“In telling his story, we challenge recipients to be great students and campus leaders, and most importantly, to follow Christ with their hearts. While Botham’s life was cut short, he is remembered through this scholarship that will continue to impact the lives of our students for years to come.”

Jean, who was from St. Lucia and moved to Dallas, Texas, was in his apartment on September 6, 2018, when former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger fatally shot him, The New York Times previously reported. Guyger had just completed her shift late that night and tried to enter Jean’s home. Thinking he was an intruder, she shot the 26-year-old man.

During his time at Harding University, Jean was a member of the Good News Singers, a resident assistant, an intern for the Rock House campus ministry, and a leader in Sub T-16 men’s social club, according to the university’s website. He also led worship for chapel and for other campus events. Following his death, Harding University president Bruce McLarty shared his favorite memory of Jean with students in chapel.

“At Lectureship one year, I asked him to lead singing one night. Because of the subject, there was a particular old hymn that I asked him if he would mind leading,” McLarty previously said in a statement. “He didn’t say anything about not knowing the song, but he had never heard it before in his life. He came up that evening and was just smiling and excited about leading it.”

“He told me he had never heard the song before, but that day, he called back to St. Lucia and asked his grandmother to teach him that old hymn on the phone. So he shared it with us at Lectureship that night, and it was a truly special moment.”

Guyger, who had worked with the Dallas Police Department for about four years, had been involved in another shooting back in 2017, when she shot and injured a suspect during a confrontation because he grabbed her police-issued Taser, The Dallas Morning News previously reported.

Days after the shooting, Guyger was arrested and charged with manslaughter in Jean’s death. Later that month, Guyger was fired from her position during a hearing on the department’s internal affairs review, according to the publication. The department said Guyger “engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for manslaughter.”

The jury selection for Guyger’s trial began earlier this month. Guyger’s attorneys asked for a change of venue for the trial due to “prejudicial” and “inflammatory” media coverage, but a judge ruled that the decision would not be made until after it was determined if a jury could be selected in Dallas County, according to the news station. Initially, then Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson presented the case as manslaughter to a grand jury, but jurors upgraded the charge to murder because they felt Guyger’s actions were intentional.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.