Shortly, Mass Communication students will be able to apply for yet another scholarship named the Dalia Davies Flanagan Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Dalia Davies Flanagan graduated from the department with a concentration in Broadcast Media in 2004. She was also the Arts and Entertainment editor for the department’s award-winning student newspaper, the Campus Echo.
While at NCCU she worked with MTV Networks in New York City as an intern in 2003. She then came back to finish her degree and still lives there today.
A television producer, writer, and director, she also works on commercials and magazines. She is also the founder of WELM Media, a digital production company and collective that examines and highlights Black culture.
The beginnings of the scholarship started in 2020 during the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic when Flanagan decided to start a virtual accelerator program through her company to help NCCU mass communication students.
“I have such a love for NCCU,” Flanagan said.
“I had such a wonderful experience and always wanted to give back to students because I remember being one on campus just hoping anyone would just hook me up or plug me into anything. I was looking for the next big thing or step.”
She found students she knew and decided a podcast would be a great way to do the accelerator.
Named The Welm Accelerator, Flanagan would be the lead mentor and design it to last three weeks. She would also use the social audio application Clubhouse to communicate remotely with the students along with bringing in mentors and industry experts.
While doing the accelerator, she was working with PBS on a series called “American Portraits.” The money from that job would help her fund the program.
“That’s what made it an accelerator program versus an internship because I wanted to literally invest in the students. I wanted to invest in their creativity, in their creative outlets and also themselves — to let them know that they are valuable.”
Flanagan’s husband, Brian, was so inspired by her work supporting NCCU, that he decided to get into the act as well with the $25,000 scholarship fund. He contacted the department and Institutional Advancement with the idea to surprise his wife with an endowed scholarship under her name.
Associate Professor Bruce dePyssler, who advised Flanagan while she worked at the student newspaper, the Campus Echo, was there when her husband and family unveiled the scholarship to her.
“It was a wonderful day for a wonderful former student,” said dePyssler.
“Brian set it all up as a surprise birthday present for Dalia. And it worked. When she came into the TV studio we and all their family members were there to surprise her.”
Lecturer Brett Chambers, who was also at the unveiling, said Flanagan was one of the students he always admired.
“I was just impressed with her enthusiasm. She had an incredible attitude. She just got stuff done,” Chambers said.
“She worked hard and helped her fellow students out a lot. She was just one of those people who was special. She had intensity, talent, commitment and compassion.”
Chambers said the scholarship is more than just money — it’s a way to build a legacy and open up opportunities for students.
“I think it is very forward-thinking of her husband to do that in her honor,” he said.
“That’s not just love — that’s building a family legacy. They’re investing in the future of someone who is going to have the opportunity that Dalia had.”
Calvin Hall, associate professor and chair of the department said he is thrilled about the scholarship and how it was an event to surprise her.
“I think it is amazing,” Hall said.
“It’s really good to see our alumni in the world come back to find ways to give back. And for this particular scholarship, it was really great to be a part of a special event that surrounded the presentation of the scholarship as a surprise for her.”
Hall also said that the Flanagans gave an extra amount of money so that the scholarship could be given to a student this year, even before the funds are officially available.
Once the scholarship is ready it will be given to students who meet the specific criteria.
Though Flanagan has had many proud moments in her life from working in television and starting a family, she said the scholarship is one of them too.
“I’m really proud of the scholarship and everything it can be,” Flanagan said.
“It feels very full circle for me — nourishing and energizing.”
This story also appears in the NOMMO spring 2022 newsletter published by the Mass Communication department. Go here to view the full newsletter: NOMMO Spring 2022