The Black Management Association (BMA) at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business held their first annual conference on May 1, where they announced the Bradford Fellows Fund, a scholarship for students active in the BMA or UCI’s Black Thriving Initiative. The first Bradford Fellows Scholarship will be awarded in the 2021-2022 school year to a Merage School undergraduate or graduate student.
The fund was endowed by Professor Tonya Williams Bradford and Professor Kevin Bradford. The Bradfords were the first African American tenured faculty members at the Merage School and by joining the UC system they doubled the number of African American faculty in UC business schools.
“We wanted to mark this milestone with an endowed scholarship that reminds people that even when you are the first, it is important to create opportunities for others to follow,” said Tonya Williams Bradford. “It is our sincere hope that others will see value in supporting the goals of this scholarship by contributing to it.”
Both Tonya and Kevin Bradford began their careers in corporate roles but stayed connected to faculty mentors at their respective MBA granting institutions Northwestern University and the University of Notre Dame. Both were encouraged to pursue scholarship and their doctorates. Now Kevin Bradford is the newly appointed associate dean of undergraduate programs and his teaching areas of interest are sales management, digital marketing and advertising. Tonya Williams Bradford is an associate professor and studies consumer rituals. Together, they founded the BMA at the Merage School in Fall 2020.
“We envision that the BMA will foster community across students, alumni and the broader Orange County business community,” explained Tonya Williams Bradford. “It is our hope that in decades to come, we will be blown away by the positive impact the organization has on strengthening the fabric of the Merage School as well as serving as a hub of innovation and inclusion for the Southern California business community.”