Dr. Barbara Brothers, who had a distinguished 40-year career as a faculty member and administrator at Youngstown State University, has endowed a scholarship for African-American Youngstown City School graduates at her alma mater.
“I recall Dr. Brothers’ tenure at YSU as someone who was a dedicated advocate for students and higher education,” said YSU President Jim Tressel. “We are grateful to Dr. Brothers for her service at the University and continuing to be committed to YSU students through her generosity in creating the Dr. Barbara Brothers Scholarship in Education.”
The scholarship will assist undergraduate Black students majoring in education. Dr. Brothers created the scholarship to inspire high school graduates from the Youngstown City School District and expects that these students will return to the school district one day to inspire the next generation of educators. She endowed the gift at the YSU Foundation, which matches donations to scholarships for students of color.
In 1996, the Foundation began matching gifts to scholarships that assist underrepresented student populations. Since then, over $1.4 million has been matched in contributions designated to diversity scholarships, with 56 in total scholarships to date. These numbers include new scholarships, those not yet awarded and not endowed.
While learning about the match program, Dr. Brothers saw this as an opportunity to make a difference. “Our students,” she said, “need teachers who look like them and come from the same circumstances to foster belief in their own possibilities to succeed and thus help to build a better Youngstown for us all.” Furthermore, speaking on the city of Youngstown and investing in the city schools, she added, “We cannot restore our city until we restore faith in the Youngstown City Schools. Educating talented and committed young people to return to lead us forward is essential not just to Youngstown but to the Mahoning Valley.”
Barbara earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Youngstown University in 1958, a master’s degree from Western Reserve University in 1962, and a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University in 1973. She taught English at Austintown High School and began her career at YSU as an adjunct instructor in 1960. While at YSU, Dr. Brothers’ accomplishments were vast; she held various roles and spearheaded initiatives across campus, including state and federal grants for working with the public schools.
Dr. Brothers was promoted to full professor in 1983, and from 1974-1992 chaired the Department of English. Examples of programs she significantly helped form include Professional Writing and Editing (now Professional and Technical Writing), Peace and Conflict Studies, Women’s Studies and American Studies. After serving as the acting graduate dean in 1993, Dr. Brothers became the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (now the Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, and Education).
In 2001, Dr. Brothers retired from YSU. In 2015 she received the University’s Heritage award for professional accomplishments and community service. She continues to remain active in civic causes and to serve on the boards of the YWCA of Mahoning Valley, Youngstown Rotary, League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown, WYSU, Garden Club of Youngstown, Lit Youngstown, and AAUW. SMARTS was the recipient of a naming gift and Sojourn to the Past is another organization serving the youth of our community to which she has a particular commitment.