reporting pixel for marketing campaign

Campus News / News

Rockford University Announces First Charles E. Box Scholarship Recipient

11/12/2020 9:00 am

Rockford, IL (November 12., 2020) – Rockford University, the region’s leading private four-year institution, today announced that Antonio Evans has been named as the first recipient of the Charles E. Box Scholarship, a program which enables Black students to pursue a business degree, without cost, at the Puri School of Business.

In his application, Evans, 40, said he decided to complete his degree to fulfill his lifelong goal of higher education, to give himself and his family options in the next stage of life, and to set an example for his three children. “I’m always preaching the importance of education to my kids and attaining this degree will allow me to practice what I preach,” he said.

Professional headshot of Antonio Evans

Evans is a Rockford native who graduated from Jefferson High School. His personality, communication skills, and leadership attributes have fueled his career growth and positive impact at Rockford-area employers MCI Telecommunications and American Income Life Insurance Company, despite not having a degree. Managers from both organizations wrote letters of recommendation commenting that Evans is “naturally gifted when it comes to business, leadership and entrepreneurship . . .when Antonio sets his mind to something there is nothing that will stop him from successfully completing what he has set out to do.”

Evans earned unanimous approval for the scholarship from the six-person panel who reviewed his application and conducted interviews.


“Antonio is an exemplary candidate and a well-deserving recipient of the Charles E. Box Scholarship,” said Mandolen Mull, Ph.D., Chair of the Puri School of Business. “The scholarship committee members were unanimously impressed with Antonio’s life goals and how, through his education, Antonio will be able to achieve those goals to better himself, our institution, and our greater Rockford community.”

The Charles E. Box Scholarships will allow students to complete their business degree at Rockford University debt-free and be well-positioned for careers in our world today. The scholarships will be awarded to Black students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management or accounting through the degree completion program at the Puri School of Business at Rockford University. The scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis up to six students per year over the next five years. Black students who are interested in applying must have completed at least 60 credit hours of coursework to be eligible and follow the two-part application process outlined at Questions about the Charles E. Box Scholarships can be directed to or (815) 226-4040.  


About Puri Foundation

The Puri Foundation was established in 2014 by Sunil Puri, the founder of First Midwest Group and lifelong philanthropist in the Rockford-region. The organization’s core mission is to fund opportunities that empower underprivileged individuals. The Puri Foundation accomplishes this goal by contributing financial resources to foster educational, athletic, civil society, and other philanthropic initiatives led by high-impact organizations.

The Puri Foundation’s initial gift was a $5,000,000 monetary and building pledge to endow the Puri School of Business at Rockford University in 2014. Since then, the foundation has been active in the region with a $2,250,000 donation of the Puri Family YMCA building in 2015, the establishment of the Puri Residence Hall at Rockford Christian Schools in 2018, and continual support for the Golden Apple Foundation through the Puri Family Outstanding Principal Award, among others. The foundation is also active internationally, providing seed funding for Water for Dignity, a Non-Government Organization providing clean water and women’s empowerment initiatives to India’s most impoverished regions.



Rockford University is a private four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The University offers more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, including the bachelor’s degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. Through its Graduate Studies department, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and Master of Education in Urban Education, (M.Ed.). Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and is a U.S. News & World Report Best Midwest Regional University, Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,250 full-and part-time students.


For more information: Bridget Jennison, Rockford University, 312.213.6242,; Rebecca Epperson, Chartwell Agency, 815.621.8295 or

# # #