Irvin B. and Mildred Davis Booker

In 2005, Mildred Davis Booker, a Rutgers-Newark alumna, gave $21,000 to establish the Irvin B. and Mildred Davis Booker Endowed Scholarship Fund at the Newark College of Arts and Sciences (NCAS) in memory of her late husband, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Irvin B. Booker (NLAW ’63).

“I created the fund because my husband, a native of Newark, loved the city of Newark and was a great advocate of access to education and academic excellence for its students. Establishing a scholarship fund in his hometown and at our alma mater, Rutgers University-Newark, was the ideal way to build a legacy in his honor.”

With continued support from Mildred and many of Irvin’s friends and colleagues, the endowed scholarship fund’s value is now more than $120,000. It supports two full-time undergraduate students of NCAS or University College—Newark (UCN) who have graduated from Newark public high schools and are underrepresented minorities. Recipients may renew their award annually for up to three or four years depending on their course of study.

With the exception of three years working at Essex County College, Mildred spent her entire professional career as an administrator at Rutgers University. She devoted 10 years of service to Rutgers-Newark and 20 to Rutgers-New Brunswick. Mildred explained that she has a special loyalty and fondness for Rutgers because when she graduated from The Katharine Gibbs School in 1960, “No other of the 15 prospective employers I met with was willing to hire an African-American secretary. Rutgers was the exception.” Mildred took full advantage of Rutgers’ tuition remission policy for employees, graduating from UCN in 1970 and earning her master of public administration from Rutgers Graduate School-Newark in 1983.

The Bookers were married for 26 years, and both pursued their undergraduate and professional/graduate degrees while working full time. Given their experiences, Irvin was and Mildred remains a strong proponent of higher education. “All individuals should strive for a college education, regardless of age or adversity. It’s never too late, and you’re never too old,” encourages Mildred.