Wiley sophomore and Marshall,Texas, native, Taylor R. Cooper was crowned Miss United Negro College Fund for Wiley College in a ceremony Friday night in the school's Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel.
Taylor and first runner up for Miss UNCF, Wiley junior Cecilia Salas of Chihuahua,Mexico, together raised over $35,000 to assist UNCF in providing scholarships and support to deserving college students. For every dollar the students raised, UNCF will grant $3 to Wiley College.
Cooper is a sociology major who represents the third generation of her family to attend Wiley College. Her mother, Angela Fitzpatrick, and her grandmother, the late Barbara Anderson Marshall, also attended Wiley College. As a third generation student , Cooper is actively engaged in campus life, including singing in the College's A Cappella Choir and serving as the vice president of the sophomore class.
About her decision to run for Miss UNCF and her subsequent win Friday night, Cooper said she earned a full ride scholarship to attend Wiley and wanted a way to help other students in acknowledgement of the blessing she received.
"I am aware that there are a number of students who need financial resources to defray the cost of a college education and the monies are not available," she said.
"I wanted to know what I could do, as a student, to help. I prayed about running for Miss UNCF-Wiley College and then Miss National UNCF. I instantly found my motivation from God, family, friends, and other Wileyites."
Students at UNCF-member schools compete to earn the Miss UNCF title on their campuses. Each campus winner goes on to compete for the national title, and the student who raises the most funding for UNCF wins.
Cooper will compete for the title of Miss National UNCF on February 20, 2016, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In photo with Miss Taylor Cooper, center, are Wiley students Miss Cecilia Salas, first runner up for Miss UNCF for Wiley College; and Miss Kai Scates, Miss National UNCF. Miss Scates, who is a senior at Wiley, earned the title Miss UNCF for Wiley College in January 2015. She went on to earn the Miss National UNCF title in March 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Wiley queens are pictured at Wiley's crowning ceremony on January 29, 2016, in the the Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel.