Donor Spotlight: Ty Ahmad-Taylor ’90 and The Curtis Leonard Anthony Taylor Scholarship
Through the scholarship established in honor of his father, Curtis, Ahmad-Taylor ensures students can experience all that Haverford has to offer.
As an undergraduate student in the late 1980s, Ty Ahmad-Taylor ’90 realized that generous financial aid made his Haverford experience possible. Without it, he thinks he would have followed his father’s advice and attended West Point, where his education would be free.
“As a scholarship recipient myself, I was able to attend a school that may have otherwise been out of reach for me, as both parents were lower-middle class by most measures,” Ahmad-Taylor says. “My Haverford education, sense of ethics, consensus-building abilities, and most importantly, the bi-college community have been evolutionary in my own growth and development. I am deeply thankful for my attendance at the school.”
Since graduation, Ahmad-Taylor has gone on to become a sought-after leader in digital and consumer electronic businesses, being tapped for his expertise by companies such as Meta, THX, GoPro, and most recently, Snap.
In December 2022, Ahmad-Taylor decided it was time to pay it forward, and he created a scholarship named in honor of his father, Curtis. As it turns out, Ahmad-Taylor’s gift was timely; Curtis passed away unexpectedly two months after the scholarship’s creation.
“Though my parents were divorced when I was very young, my father always supported me in the ways that he knew best,” Ahmad-Taylor explains. “He also was a man of service, having served at the end of World War II and in both Korea and Vietnam. This dedication to public service (at the highest cost possible) made an indelible impression upon me as I got older.
“He was a good man, intent on supporting me and his children, and he did his very best to give me a better life than he had. His grandparents were enslaved, my grandparents were sharecroppers, and my father was born in 1927, when the world was very different and unforgiving to independently-minded Black men. Through all of that, he and my mother gave me a foundation that allowed me some measure of achievement and joy, and for that, I am eternally grateful and indebted to him.”
Ahmad-Taylor hopes that this scholarship allows students to attend Haverford who would not be able to otherwise and provides them the opportunity to experience all that the College has to offer.
“I hope that their eyes are opened, as mine were, to the joy of having a growth mindset, the pleasure of learning in a nurturing environment, the secret discoveries in and beneath the library,” he adds with a wink, “the benefit of the physical proximity to your professors, and the ability to draw upon the rich Quaker traditions that envelop the school to be a better person in this world.”
Some of Ahmad-Taylor’s fondest memories from his undergraduate days were “wild, open-ended debates” with his professors, especially former economics department chair Michael Weinstein and former Wistar Brown Professor of Philosophy Lucius Outlaw.
“Both Professors Weinstein and Outlaw had a profound impact on my life and my educational experience,” he says. “The former because I still use many of his economic frameworks today as I assess both public policy and what I personally deem to be of value, and the latter for his dedication to understanding ourselves and our place in history through the lens of philosophy. I also worked for Professor Outlaw at the school, and that gave me access to one of the fastest computers on campus as I worked to do data entry for his database of philosophers from the African diaspora. I had no idea there were so many men of talents and achievement who looked like me until I did that work, men like Anthony Appiah, and Cornel West (though he seems to have lost his way recently) and so many others.”
Ahmad-Taylor’s advice for Fords today is to take advantage of the amazing guest lecturers hosted by the Bi-Co in order to nurture a habit of inquiry.
“I would suggest that students remain intellectually, emotionally, and developmentally curious with an eye towards asking questions to understand, rather than to respond,” Ahmad-Taylor says. “Lifelong learning, underpinned by this same curiosity, has fueled my own growth, and I wish I had been intentional and started being intentionally curious earlier.”
Haverford is committed to creating a community that is inclusive, equitable, and accessible. Gifts to scholarships allow the College to meet the full demonstrated need of every admitted student.
Many scholarships are founded in memory or honor of a loved one. Donors and their families receive regular reports on the stewardship of their funds. Scholarship endowments can be established with a minimum commitment of $100,000, funded by cash, securities, deferred gifts, or bequests. Gifts in any amount can be made to existing endowments.
For more information about endowed scholarships at Haverford, please contact George Telford, director of Major Gifts at 610.795.3376 or gtelford [at] haverford.edu.