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Al Jarreau and Multiple Individual, Foundation and Corporate Donors

Al Jarreau was a Milwaukee-born jazz singer known around the world and a major supporter of the School of Education. He recorded 21 albums and earned seven Grammys, representing jazz, pop and R & B. In 2004, UWM awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.


Al Jarreau started the Cheeks Scholarship Fund to honor Thomas Cheeks, a pioneering African American educator in Milwaukee Public Schools. He described Thomas Cheeks as a mentor, role model and inspiration for him and many other black males. Over the years, Al donated proceeds from his concerts and awards to this scholarship fund so it could serve as a recruitment tool for African American male students considering a career in education.

“We need more male teachers in the grade schools, especially male students of color because there are so many kids of color who don’t have a male influence at home.”