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The Faces of Opportunity Vanderbilt
Photo of The Boatwrights

Dr. Makeba and Damond Williams Boatwright

Dr. Makeba and Damond Williams Boatwright Scholarship

Once upon a time, strangers recognized the talent and potential of Makeba, BS’98, and Damond Williams Boatwright, investing in their education and future.

“I’m very grateful that there were people supporting scholarships when I was a student at Vanderbilt. I benefitted greatly from their philanthropy,” says Makeba Williams Boatwright. “It not only made quite the impact on my own life, but it also allows me to help others who are trying to pursue opportunities.”

Damond Williams Boatwright echoes this sentiment: “My wife and I, because of scholarships, were blessed to leave college with little to no debt. It has been a tremendous gift that continues to help us and our family.”

“We work to not be consumers, but so that we can give and invest in the lives of others.”

Today, the couple has made good on that early support, leading, in many ways, a life of philanthropy. Both work in the health care field—Makeba as an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and practicing physician at the University of Wisconsin Madison and Damond as the regional president of a robust health care system. They also are dedicated to engaging their young children in conversations about giving back.

“Damond and I committed, very early on when our kids were born, that they needed to understand that we are a family of givers,” says Makeba Williams Boatwright. “We work to not be consumers in this world, but so that we can improve and invest in the lives of others.”

In 2016, the family did just that by supporting Opportunity Vanderbilt with the Dr. Makeba and Damond Williams Boatwright Scholarship.

“My time at Vanderbilt was truly transformative. Where I am today is a direct result of the enriching academic, social and leadership experiences at Vanderbilt. I want everyone who meets the academic criteria to have those experiences. I want to remove financial barriers to excellent educational opportunities,” says Makeba Williams Boatwright.

Though not an alumnus himself, Damond Williams Boatwright, is equally grateful to the university. “My life would not be what it is today without Vanderbilt. My wife is a direct byproduct of the school. As I look at the woman that my wife is today, and knowing her appreciation for the quality education she received at Vanderbilt, I cannot help but want to give back as my way of saying, ‘Thank you.’”