First Generation Alum Establishes Scholarship to Empower Future Generations of Huskies

When Syheed R. Fields ’96, DBA, first arrived at Bloomsburg, he came from the challenging environment of South Philadelphia, where opportunities were scarce, and privileges were few.

The University and football team became his beacon of hope, offering him a path to a better future. Despite lacking the same advantages as his peers, he seized the chance to showcase his grit, raw talent, and courage, and in 1991, he earned his spot on the team as a walk-on student athlete.

When I arrived at Bloomsburg, I knew it was the right place, and I was determined to make it work,” says Syheed. “It was more than just an opportunity. For me, it was a way out, and I wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers.”

In addition to challenging himself on the field, Syheed faced another set of hurdles in his transition to college life, particularly in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Being the first in his family to pursue higher education, Syheed found himself navigating unfamiliar territory. The cultural shock of interacting with peers from different backgrounds pushed him to adapt and grow.

Yet, amidst the difficulties, Syheed treasures the friendships he forged during his time at Bloomsburg, friendships that endured even in the face of adversity. He expanded his social circle to include individuals from diverse backgrounds, stepping outside of his comfort zone and fostering a lasting sense of adaptability.

Several figures left an indelible mark on Syheed during his Bloomsburg journey, including his football coach, Danny Hale, who imparted valuable life lessons that transcended the football field. The Act 101 Program, spearheaded by Dr. Irvin Wright and Wayne Whitaker, also played a pivotal role in shaping his understanding of diversity and inclusion.

Reflecting on his progress from a disadvantaged upbringing, Syheed remains humble yet determined to give back to those facing similar challenges. His unconventional post-graduation path led him to play football overseas, delve into project management and logistics, and eventually discover his passion for entrepreneurship.

With unwavering integrity and courage instilled in him during his time as a student at Bloomsburg, Syheed shattered the constraints of his past, setting a new standard for his family and community. Through hard work and dedication, he established his own construction company, a testament to his resilience and determination.

Syheed's journey from a place of limited opportunities to academic and entrepreneurial success serves as an inspiration to others. His commitment to higher education is reflected in the Dr. Syheed Fields Scholarship, which he established to support students from diverse backgrounds.

After establishing the scholarship, Syheed invited friends and family to support it, increasing the amount available to deserving students. His network of supporters did not disappoint, contributing an additional $4,000.

This year, as he celebrated his 50th birthday, Syheed chose to give back, emphasizing the importance of supporting disenfranchised youth and promoting diversity and inclusion. His scholarship fund symbolizes his belief that one's background should not dictate their future and that everyone deserves a chance to succeed.

Syheed's leadership in the community and dedication to uplifting others exemplify his forward-thinking mindset. He envisions a future where recipients of his scholarship pay it forward, creating a ripple effect of positive change in their communities.

From his humble beginnings in Philadelphia to his accomplishments in academia and entrepreneurship, Syheed embodies resilience, determination, and the power of education. His story serves as a beacon of hope for future generations, inspiring them to overcome adversity and pursue their dreams.

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