August 25, 2021
By Sydney L. Pfeifer
When Jabril Shareef, ’63, celebrated his 81st birthday in early August, his sons, Amir and Hakim, gave him a gift that will live in perpetuity: the Jabril Shareef Perseverance and Uplift Scholarship, backed by a $25,000 endowed gift agreement, will help support a historically underrepresented student with a declared major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) at Buffalo State College, starting in the fall 2021 semester.
“When I learned about the endowment and the scholarship, all I could say was, ‘Wow!’” Shareef said, adding that he was “blown away” by this surprise from his sons. “I smile every time I reflect on the scholarship. I am honored to be a part of an elite class of alumni and now intricately woven into the fabric of Buffalo State’s culture.”
Scholarship applicants must be in good academic standing and have unmet financial need. Recipients can reapply annually for the scholarship, which is currently $1,000.
“We are proud to honor a Buffalo State alumnus who has given so much to the community,” said President Katherine Conway-Turner, who was present at Shareef’s celebration on campus on August 5. “The Jabril Shareef Perseverance and Uplift Scholarship will provide invaluable opportunities for future students.”
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Jabril Shareef graduated from Buffalo State in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts education. He started one of the first minority businesses to obtain a developer’s license in the city of Buffalo and spent more than 50 years focusing his career on the construction trades, building homes on the East Side under the city’s affordable housing program for first-time home buyers. Later he operated one of the city’s premier demolition companies, adding another line of expertise in asbestos and lead abatement.
His recent business enterprises have focused on eco-friendly green initiatives, including converting recycled paper into cellulose insulation and hydroseed mulch.
Currently, he is the managing partner for C&R Housing, a minority-owned business enterprise and a Building Performance Institute–certified contractor, specializing in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s EmPower New York Program as well as the Energy STAR Assisted Home Performance Program.
Throughout his career, Shareef sought to provide job opportunities to the underprivileged, young, and rehabilitating classes. He oversaw, managed, and directed Buffalo’s premier Job Corps recruitment site, placing over 1,000 youth into the Job Corps Center trades facility in Cassadaga, New York.
“I am humbled to be able to help young people into the future,” Shareef said of the scholarship. “The moment, the scholarship, the entirety of this endeavor has left an indelible impact on me, and I couldn’t be happier to have my name etched into the 150-year tradition of Buffalo State.”
Reflecting on his father’s career, Amir Shareef called his father “a giant amongst men.”
“The things he has done and continues to do in the community are worthy of emulation,” said the younger Shareef.
Amir and Hakim Shareef, B.A. ’99, created the scholarship to inspire incoming and future students in the STEM field “to not just follow in [their] father’s footsteps of greatness, but to surpass him, and pursue a lasting legacy through philanthropy, sustained superior performance, and an unwavering commitment to excellence,” they said.
The scholarship serves as a reminder to never stop lifting those around you as you climb to success, they said.
When asked about his motivation to create the scholarship in honor of his father, Amir Shareef gave a simple response: “How could I not?”
Pictured top (clockwise from bottom left): Jabril Shareef, Hakim Shareef, Amir Shareef, President Katherine Conway-Turner.
Photo by Donald Patterson.
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