Why Invest? 

Modest Investment, Huge Impact

On an October evening in 1998, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson took the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City for a concert to raise funds for Africa University. The Carnegie Hall concert was the brainchild of Bishop Ernest Lyght, just two years into his first Episcopal assignment in the New York Conference.

Bishop Lyght wanted the event to be ‘big’ and it was. It featured the formidable talent of Rev. Wilson, with the internationally acclaimed actor, the late Mr. Ossie Davis, as host.

The concert proceeds—$60,000—were used to establish the New York Conference Endowed Scholarship at Africa University. Today, that endowed scholarship is worth more than $250,000 and it has provided funding for 16 students to study at Africa University. These students have majored in everything from agriculture to education, peace-building and theology. All of them have returned home and now work in countries such Angola, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and South Sudan. 

Now, with Africa University in its 24th year, Bishop Lyght’s challenge to the wider United Methodist Church is the same today as it was on the eve of the Carnegie Hall concert in 1998.

Don’t be “discouraged by small beginnings,” he says. “Africa University has come a long way but the work is not yet finished…How big will we make it? That rests with us and I hope we will continue to labor together in building this enterprise called AU.

A gift of $130,000 will endow one annual scholarship in perpetuity at Africa University. An initial gift of $10,000 is required to set up a named scholarship. Learn more about endowed scholarships.