By Hazel Scott/ASU
Alabama State University (ASU) alumnus and Birmingham attorney Eric Welch Guster knows the importance of giving back to the community, especially to his alma mater. To follow that passion, Guster has given the gift of access to education by establishing the Eric Guster, Esq. College of Business Administration endowed scholarship in the amount of $50,000.
“The decision to create the scholarship was a decision my wife, Jamie, and I made. As a graduate of the College of Business Administration, I owe ASU everything I’ve accomplished. My years at ASU gave me the educational background, the social network, and the desire to do what I’ve become now, as a lawyer and a businessperson,” Guster said.
Guster noted that the scholarship will provide financial support for College of Business students who might not have an opportunity to attend college without financial assistance. Guster will offer mentoring to students who receive his scholarship.
“This endowed scholarship is to help COBA students with tuition and fees who have proven themselves….I want to make sure students have the financial resources to become successful,” he said. “My goal is to continuously increase the endowment to assist as many students as possible every year.”
Recipients must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, be a full-time time student at ASU, and demonstrate a financial need or hardship.
Guster’s giving spirit is also seen in the community. “I mentor young people, college students, and others who reach out needing advice on careers or starting their own businesses. I try my best to be accessible to these up-and-coming young people as I would have wanted someone to be accessible to me. That’s why the mentoring aspect of this scholarship is important.”
Guster, who is the founder of Guster Law Firm in Birmingham and a commercial real estate developer, has appeared as a legal analyst on some of the nation’s top news media outlets, such as CNN, MSNBC, The Today Show, FOX News, and Good Morning Britain. He is a regular contributor on Birmingham’s Fox 6, where he said he got his start as an on-air legal commentator. Guster also has been a legal resource for news outlets such as The Birmingham News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Guster credits his tenacity and determination to ASU.
“ASU set the groundwork for my entrepreneurship trajectory. My first business was in college selling fraternity and sorority gear and art prints…and I was running it out of my Card Hall dorm room. The encouragement from my instructors about entrepreneurship and doing things the right way planted that seed that grew over my years as an adult,” Guster said. “The lessons I’ve learned at ASU are still driving forces in my life and career today.”
Guster received his Accounting and Finance Degree from Alabama State University (’93) where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and became a member of the Mighty Marching Hornets and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.
Guster encourages other alumni to give back to their alma mater to help support future leaders.
“Serving as a member of the Alabama State University Foundation Board of Directors was my entry into understanding funding scholarships and other financial resources for students, and we have to make other alumni aware of this possibility of giving. It’s our duty to give back,” he said.
For those who would like to donate to the COBA endowed scholarship, Guster has set up a page on the University’s website through the ASU Foundation.
“To encourage other alumni and friends of the University to give to the Foundation, I will match donations during 2023 up to $50,000 for those who give through this link: www.alasu.edu/guster,” Guster said.
“Every donation is important whether $20 or $2,000. The more people give to our students, the better off our students are…Bringing awareness to how we can provide scholarships for our own people, taking care of ourselves, is my goal in doing this.”
For more information on establishing an endowed scholarship or to learn about other giving opportunities, contact ASU’s Director of Development, Audrey Parks, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 334-229-5620.