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Former YSU dean establishes scholarship for Black students

Barbara Brothers, who had a distinguished 40-year career at the university, wants to help education students from Youngstown.
Dr. Barbara Brothers
Barbara Brothers has endowed a scholarship for Black students from Youngstown to attend Youngstown State University. (Youngstown Foundation).
YOUNGSTOWN — Barbara Brothers, who had a distinguished 40-year career as a faculty member and administrator at Youngstown State University, has endowed a scholarship for Black Youngstown City School graduates at her alma mater.  

“I recall Dr. Brothers’ tenure at YSU as someone who was a dedicated advocate for students and higher education,” said YSU President Jim Tressel in a news release. “We are grateful to Dr. Brothers for her service at the University and continuing to be committed to YSU students through her generosity in creating the Dr. Barbara Brothers Scholarship in Education.” 

The scholarship will assist undergraduate Black students majoring in education.

Brothers created the scholarship to inspire high school graduates from the Youngstown City School District and expects that these students will return to the school district one day to inspire the next generation of educators.

She endowed the gift at the YSU Foundation, which matches donations to scholarships for students of color. While learning about the match program, Brothers saw this as an opportunity to make a difference.

“Our students,” she said, “need teachers who look like them and come from the same circumstances to foster belief in their own possibilities to succeed and thus help to build a better Youngstown for us all.”

She added, “We cannot restore our city until we restore faith in the Youngstown City Schools. Educating talented and committed young people to return to lead us forward is essential not just to Youngstown but to the Mahoning Valley.”

Brothers earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Youngstown University in 1958, a master’s degree from Western Reserve University in 1962, and a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University in 1973 and began her career at YSU as an adjunct instructor in 1960. While at YSU, her accomplishments were vast; she held various roles and spearheaded initiatives across campus, including state and federal grants for working with the public schools

After serving as the acting graduate dean in 1993, she became the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (now the Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences and Education). In 2001, Brothers retired from YSU. In 2015 she received the University’s Heritage award for professional accomplishments and community service.

She continues to remain active in civic causes and to serve on the boards of the YWCA of Mahoning Valley, Youngstown Rotary, League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown, WYSU, Garden Club of Youngstown, Lit Youngstown and AAUW.