NFL player, BU alum establishes scholarship

For immediate release: July 21, 2009

BLOOMSBURG — New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Jahri Evans, a Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania graduate, has established a full scholarship for out-of-state minority students enrolled in BU's Master of Science in clinical athletic training program.

Lauren James-Penn, of Houston, Texas, is the first recipient of the annual Jahri Evans Scholarship, which begins with the 2009-10 academic year. Evans, who graduated in May 2007 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science, has pledged to cover tuition and fees for a student on an annual basis.

"It's always good to help someone in need further their education," said Evans, a Philadelphia native and two-time All-American at BU. "Bloomsburg was instrumental in getting me to where I am today. I was brought up to always give back and be grateful for what you have. This is a great program and great place to go to school."

James-Penn, who recently earned a bachelor's degree in health and kinesiology from Prairie View A&M University, said the scholarship enabled her to relocate from Texas to study in Pennsylvania's only entry-level master’s program in athletic training and one of 16 offered nationally.

"This was exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program," James-Penn said. "This program really prepares you for the national certification exam."

Joe Hazzard, program director of BU's clinical athletic training program, said the scholarship not only benefits the graduate program but builds on the university's diversity initiatives. "Jahri has helped tremendously to get Lauren here and make this a reality for the program and university," Hazzard said.

According to Evans, the scholarship also enables him to stay closely connected to the university. "I still feel a part of Bloomsburg," he said. "It will always feel like home."

Evans, a fourth-round pick in the 2006 NFL draft, has played in every game of three seasons with the Saints and recently signed a one-year contract as a restricted free agent. In addition to the annual scholarship, Evans has a foundation for educational and charitable purposes that provides scholarships to college-bound students and sponsors an annual football camp.