Launched in spring 2012, the Betty Chavis Emergency Fund was established to provide financial support to Pell-eligible students who experience a crisis or financial emergency. The fund was named in honor of Betty Chavis, who worked tirelessly for Michigan Tech students for more than 20 years.
One of Chavis’s dreams was to establish a fund that could provide students in emergency situations with immediate financial support.
Betty Chavis started working at Michigan Tech in 1989, serving as the University’s first African American admissions counselor. Chavis also worked as Tech’s first African American Outreach Coordinator. In 2004, she became the Director of Outreach and MultiEthnic Programs.
Throughout her time at Tech, Chavis worked with underrepresented students, and developed networks of teachers, alumni, and others who could help refer underrepresented students to Michigan Tech. She was an enthusiastic advocate for students and served as an advisor, counselor, friend, nurturer, and role model. Often, she was a one-person support system for students making the transition to Houghton and life at Michigan Tech.
Chavis always put students first; she regularly gave up nights and weekends to attend student-sponsored events, to listen to parents’ concerns, or take teachers from partner high schools on tours of the Copper Country to assure them that their students would be safe and cared for so far from home.
The Parade of Nations, Tech Teas, and many other well-known campus activities were led or inspired by Chavis. While she has a particular focus on undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups at Tech, her goal was always to make Michigan Tech a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.