There’s no sibling rivalry between Jon Wallace, Jr. and Sally Wallace Brown. In fact, this brother and sister have teamed up to provide others with the same educational opportunities they enjoyed. The duo recently established the Wallace and Brown Family Scholarship, designed to provide encouragement and support to students so that they can make a difference through careers in education.
“We’re trying to benefit students of Color. That’s our goal,” Sally says. “That’s the way the scholarship has been set up.”
Sally relates that, in a conversation with a high school teacher last year, she learned that her school had a 65 percent minority population, yet few teachers of Color. “When they hired a new teacher, she was shocked that they were not trying harder to get minority teachers,” Sally says. “That really jogged my thinking about what we are doing. We’re putting teachers in front of these kids that don’t look like these kids at all.”
Jon has a similar story. His granddaughter graduated from the U with bachelor and master degrees in education and she was practice teaching in North Minneapolis. “Most of the teachers there were Caucasian. She really struggled with that. She didn’t think it was right,” he says. “It is critical that issue be attended to and corrected. We need a whole lot more teachers of Color in front of similar students.”
The Wallace and Brown Family Scholarship is poised to do just that.
It’s noteworthy to point out that the “family” in the scholarship name means way more than just Jon and Sally. Ready? Sally graduated from what was then known as the School of Education and her husband, James Patterson Brown, graduated from the Medical School, as did his father, two of his brothers, and a nephew. James’ mother graduated from the School of Nursing. Other family members graduating from the U include James’ third brother, a nephew, and a granddaughter. Jon also graduated from the U as did a daughter, daughter-in-law, and three granddaughters.
The scholarship, however, especially honors Jon’s wife, Mari-carol, who graduated from the College of Education and later returned to earn an MSW from the School of Social Work. She worked at the Washburn Child Guidance Clinic in Minneapolis and served as a clinical instructor at the U. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she now lives in memory care.
Sally says it’s easy to see the impact the U has had on her family. “It’s a terrific, wonderful institution,” she says. “We can be really proud of it.”
Jon agrees. “It’s been an important part of our family for some time,” he says. “We would like to help others benefit from it as well.”
Story by Kevin Moe | Photos courtesy of the Wallace and Brown family | Spring/Summer 2021