The H. Rose Willingham Scholarship is an endowed merit scholarship. It is dedicated to the memory of an SDA Christian woman that loved education, music, and young people. She believed that Oakwood University (OU) cultivated the potential of “young people” with spiritual nourishment, academic accountability, and social development. Sister Willingham loved music and dedicated years in directing The Lamplighters, initially in Queens, New York and subsequently in Baltimore, Maryland. She conducted this “young people’s choir” with the precision and passion of a world class maestro. The Lamplighters sang Contemporary Christian, Spirituals, and Classic Hymns while performing in New York and the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Lamplighters would travel to Jamaica, Bermuda, and Hawaii during her tenure as Director. She established standards of excellence for the “young people” and developed personal relationships that were bonded with Christ like love. She encouraged every young person to do their best and let God take care of the rest. She instilled confidence into scores of urban youth with positive encouragement and honest feedback. She expected the best of her “young people” and they often exceeded her expectations. Education was incorporated into many aspects of her life as she was an Executive Administrative Assistant at Morgan State University. She believed in working hard and meeting goals. She completed her Business Administration Bachelor’s Degree at the age of 65, demonstrating to her “young people” that it is never too late to fulfill your goals. She was a historian, a musician, an educator, a storyteller, a writer, a poet, a world traveler, a loving mother, grandmother and aunt. She was a friend to all. She lived on a very modest income but shared endlessly. She was a philanthropist of good will and positivity.
She lived Oakwood’s University’s Aim: “God First!” She would be proud that a scholarship in her name will help students to complete their college education at OU.