Deondre Phillips-Green

For EMU senior Deondre Philips Green, receiving the GEM scholarship was more than a birthday present, it was a future.

Eastern Michigan University rising senior Deondre Philips Green grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and was raised by a single mother who dreamed of her child graduating from college. For Deondre, graduating college was never in his trajectory. Being a first-generation college student, Deondre was the only one in his family to even attend a four-year institution. Deondre was defying the odds set out by him making it to his senior year at EMU; only one more year until Deondre got to walk across that stage with his bachelor's degree in his hands.

However, during the winter of 2021, Deondre’s dream to graduate became out of reach due to the financial restrictions that numerous college students faced in the United States throughout the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. However, on July 1st, 2021, Deondre’s birthday, he received more than a birthday present. Deondre received a future. 

Along with celebrating his 24th birthday, Deondre was awarded the Genuine Eastern Michigan Endowed (GEM) Scholarship. The GEM scholarship would give him the financial opportunity to cover his undergraduate tuition and complete his undergraduate degree, a milestone that Deondre and his mother have been dreaming about since he enrolled at EMU in the Fall of 2018.

“Receiving the GEM Endowed Scholarship from EMU Foundation was the best birthday gift I could have ever imagined,” Deondre says. “Now I can finally finish what I started.”

In his final year at EMU, Deondre is pursuing a sports management degree with a minor in marketing. During his time within EMU’s sports management program, Deondre has been able to gain real-world experience through writing game scripts for EMU gymnastics, calling home game production meetings, and managing in-game arena music along with controlling the video board. Deondre credits Kaisha Excell and Richard Zum Mallen, two Assistant Directors of Marketing for EMU Athletics, for their mentorship and allowing Deondre to “spread his wings as an intern and gain experience that most interns have not.” 

When asked what the GEM Endowed Scholarship meant to him, Deondre just smiled.  
“Thank you for allowing me to finish my last year at Eastern Michigan University.”

Eastern Michigan University will “Give Rise” to students like Deondre through the largest fundraising campaign in the school’s history. In March, the University launched the public phase of “Give Rise: The Campaign for Eastern Michigan University,” a $100 million comprehensive campaign to support student success, advance programs of distinction, and help students excel in and beyond the classroom.