Michael Coleman II
(’14 BA, Advertising)
CEO and Co-Founder of Crowned Scholars
(’16 BS, Interdisciplinary Studies)
COO and Co-Founder of Crowned Scholars
While many college students were watching TV and zoning out, Michael Coleman II and Rickey Townsend were finding inspiration for their future nonprofit organization, Crowned Scholars.
The duo met at UTA when Coleman was assigned as Townsend’s mentor, and they quickly developed a friendship. One night while watching an awards show celebrating Black women, they began talking about the absence of similar attention for Black men and how vital positive representation is to encouraging young boys to pursue their aspirations.
“We want to redefine for young Black boys what it means to be a Black man,” Townsend says.
In 2019, the North Texas natives launched Crowned Scholars with the goal of holistically developing middle-school-aged Black boys in Dallas, Texas.
“Most empowerment groups and organizations focus on high school or college students; however, students are becoming more and more impressionable at younger ages,” Coleman explains. “Crowned Scholars wants to step in to provide educational, personal, mental, and professional growth for the students we have the opportunity to impact.”
The curriculum for the program has two focuses: academics, with an emphasis on math, and healthy habits, a term that refers to important life skills. As a math teacher at Dallas’ Benjamin Franklin Middle School, Townsend knows the importance of a strong early math education.
“Our goal is to provide confidence to boys in math and for them to be algebra-ready once they leave our program,” Townsend says.
Adds Coleman, “Our overall goal is to nurture the growth of these young men and make sure they know they are kings.”
An unexpected bonus of their work with Crowned Scholars has been the opportunity to recruit nearly a dozen UTA students and alumni to their team, providing opportunities to their fellow Mavericks while giving back to the school that brought them together.