James E. Ellis, with the support of friends and family, and his employer, McGraw-Hill Companies, established the David A. Ellis Memorial Scholarship in April 2006 to support a student in the College of Arts and Humanities majoring in American studies, with preference for students with an interest in the impact of ethnic music and lifestyle on mainstream U.S. culture. This fund was established to honor David A. Ellis, James' late son and a former student at the University of Maryland.
David A. Ellis had a short, but full, life. Born in Snellville, GA, in 1983, he grew up in Downers Grove, IL and Princeton Junction, NJ before enrolling at the University of Maryland in 2002. David, a popular deejay on the campus radio station, was less than one semester away from receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies when his promise-filled life was cut short by a fatal fire in his college apartment in January 2006.
Many remember David for his passionate advocacy of hip hop music and culture, which he showcased for eight years on his two websites and his weekly radio show on WMUC, the University's student-operated FM station. But David's interests were far wider than met the eye. This hip hop aficionado also enjoyed rock music and studied classical violin. Although he was a frequent on-air commentator about the lifestyles of urban blacks, David's coursework also concentrated on the culture and value systems of women and other ethnic groups such as Asian-Americans. Indeed, David was eager to investigate cultures different than his own, and enjoyed experiencing them first-hand during visits to numerous American cities and on two trips to Asia. David-like his interests-was simply impossible to pigeonhole.
By creating the David A. Ellis Memorial Scholarship Fund, David's family and friends created a perpetual memorial to David's inquisitive nature and the positive power of education to transform young men and women like David into critically thinking, questioning adults who work toward a more-inclusive America.