- Barack Obama School
Steven Cousins Establishes Scholarship Endowment at Alma Mater
NORMANDY, MO -- The highly anticipated Friends of Normandy (FON) School District Scholarship Gala is always a grand time for all.
This year’s fundraiser was to have an added touch of Viking magic. The FON was planning to debut a new multi-year endowment, made possible by renowned attorney and Normandy High School alumnus Steven Cousins.
Even though COVID-19 put the brakes on this year’s event, the $50,000 endowment is still a go, making it possible for Normandy graduates – now and in the future – to pursue their post-secondary dreams.
Cousins graduated from Normandy High School in 1973, and studied at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for two years before leaving for the east coast to attend Yale University where he graduated with his bachelor’s degree. He then went to the University of Pennsylvania to study law and business. He earned his law degree in 1980.
Today, Cousins is the president and CEO of Cousins Allied Strategic Advisors LLC (CASA). He founded his own firm after an illustrious career as a partner and executive committee member of Armstrong Teasdale LLP, a law firm with more than 550 attorneys and staff in offices across the country. He retired from Armstrong Teasdale in 2018.
But like many of the future beneficiaries of this endowment, Cousins came from humble beginnings, working part-time as a busboy and dishwasher at Host International's restaurants at St. Louis Lambert International Airport while a student at Normandy High School. Even then he knew he wanted to go to college and pursue a career as an attorney.
“A college education is a passport to success,” said Cousins, who also served as vice president of his senior class. “If you want to successfully compete in today's marketplace, [a college education] is that one vital credential. It opens up doors of opportunities and corridors of power that are otherwise closed or most difficult to access. Over a lifetime, it is an inarguable proposition that there is a million-dollar swing in the income generated by a college graduate than someone who just has a high school diploma.”
Having such a strong passion for education led Cousins to make the generous contribution to the Friends of Normandy (FON) School District. FON is an independent, 501(3)(c) nonprofit foundation whose sole mission is to raise funds for scholarships for Normandy seniors. The scholarships can be used at any 2-year, 4-year or vocational/technical post-secondary institution. The organization, which was founded in 2005, has raised more than $300,000 for college scholarships through its annual black-tie gala.
“Mr. Cousins’ donation reflects our philosophy of philanthropy, which is based upon the concept that education can be endowed by community support,” said Beverley Thompson, FON Founding Director. “We are thankful for his generous donation and inspired by his irrevocable belief in the academic excellence of our students.”
Cousins is proud to work with FON to provide these funds for student scholarships.
“There’s no better investment than our youth and their education,” he continued. “Education is the lynchpin of a democratic, enlightened society. As Martin Luther King said, albeit in a different context, ‘I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.’ To me, it's our youth. They represent our future.”
Even though this year’s FON Gala was cancelled, the community can still support graduating seniors with scholarships. To make a contribution to the FON scholarship fund, please visit www.normandysc.org/friends.
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