Catalysts of opportunity: The new Pugh Family Scholarships

Mary Pugh (right) and her family
Mary Pugh (right) and her family

This week’s confirmation hearings have spotlighted so much about Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson: her intellect, her accomplishments, her humility, her grace. And also her recognition and love of those who have helped her along the way, from her parents, to mentors, to the older Black woman she encountered while walking across Harvard Yard, early in her freshman year, feeling overwhelmed and out of place. Leaning over, that woman whispered one word: “Persevere.”

Gifts of encouragement are some of the profoundest we can make. And so it’s with gratitude that today we announce two extraordinary gifts of that kind — new annual scholarships for African-American students at Seattle Central. They’re made possible by the generosity of longtime Central supporter Mary Pugh, her husband Michael Scoggins and their adult children, Angela and Alex. Mary is CEO and Chief Investment Officer at Pugh Capital, one of the country’s largest African-American owned asset management firms.

The scholarships honor Mary's parents, Willie and Easter Pugh, both graduates of Alabama State University and some of the first Blacks ever admitted at the school. Their example and their standards have pushed Mary forward throughout her life.

 “When others believe in you and provide encouragement and support, it acts as a catalyst. It sparks belief in yourself and a desire to rise to their expectations, and that’s everything,” says Mary. Now she and her family hope to play that role for others, including Black students at Central.

The story of Mary and her parents is moving. You can take it in here. If nothing else, don’t miss the financial advice it holds for young people of color — and really all of us. Given her success in investing, banking, and as a past director of the Seattle branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, she speaks with some authority.

— Read the profile of Mary and her family

— Ask a question about Seattle Colleges Foundation scholarships