Dorothy Henderson Scholars thrive despite adversity

Case Management logo courtesy Kimberly Ceaser

The Dorothy Henderson Scholars Program (DHSP) was named after Dorothy Henderson, who served as dean of Florida A&M University’s former School of General Studies. She was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, a platinum supporter of the FAMU Gallery of Distinction and a lifetime member of the FAMU National Alumni Association. She was also devoted to the community and students at FAMU. 

Shortly after her death in May 2016, the campus-based support program for homeless and former foster care students was named in memory of her hard work and dedication to ensuring that students she knew would never go without.

Jaelore Faison, a senior psychology major with a minor in health sciences, says she became a part of the program when her grandparents cut her off  financially after she told them about the sexual abuse she endured while in their care. She had been adopted by them at an early age. 

During her financial hardships, she was able to get in contact with her case manager from when she was in foster care, before being adopted by her grandparents, who provided her with the right documentation to give to the Case Management Services at FAMU in order to receive a tuition waiver. 

Since then, the program has awarded Faison with numerous opportunities to assist her on her college journey such as a year-long, paid internship with the Department of Health. That eventually led her to another job, assistance with housing and workshops to increase her professionalism while on campus and for life after FAMU.

Faison says that this program has helped her tremendously and she encourages students who are in need to get in contact with Case Management Services.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Faison said. “We’ve all been there.”

While homeless waivers are renewed every academic school year, foster care waivers are honored until the age of 28. This program provides students with not only financial assistance but food vouchers, academic advising, mental health support, job and internship opportunities, book stipends, access to a clothing closet and orientation fee waivers.

Kimberly Ceaser, the case manager and program coordinator for the DHSP, says that the program is still going due to the community, alumni and individual sponsor support.

“We’re here to support the students through their academic journey,” said Ceaser. “I don’t want students to be frustrated and struggling to find ways to do things themselves when I can help them.”

Jennifer Charles, a freshman criminal justice major who aspires to be a lawyer, says she was kicked out of her home in high school by her father after a period of physical and mental abuse took place. 

After she failed her eye exam for the ROTC scholarship, Charles was looking for ways to pay for college when an email from FAMU was sent out about Case Management Services. 

“Besides financially, this program is a good thing because Ms. Ceaser is always there for you.”

To get in contact with Case Management Services and/or the Dorothy Henderson Scholars Program call (850) 599-8513 or email