Alumna Sets Up Columbia Scholarship in Honor of Parents

Kimberly Wilson and her parents, Don and Ann WilsonKimberly Wilson and her parents, Don and Ann Wilson
Columbia College Chicago alum sets up scholarship for Marketing students in honor of her parents


Kimberly Wilson `01, Vice President of Distribution Marketing at The Walt Disney Company and alumna of Columbia College Chicago’s Marketing program, set up the Don and Ann Wilson Marketing Scholars Fund in honor of her parents to support deserving Columbia Marketing students. 

Kimberly’s parents, Don and Ann Wilson, ran several businesses across the south side of Chicago for 30 years before Don’s passing. “My father passed away in 2014 and I’ve never forgotten the lessons he instilled around the importance of education, hard work and giving back. He and my mother are the reason my sister and I are who we are today,” says Kimberly.

Recalling her time at Columbia Kimberly says, “It was lovely and scary at the same time. I was surrounded by so many talented people, and I had been out of school for at least seven years. I knew I was in the midst of something special. My goal was to be in entertainment and Columbia College Chicago had the resources and connections to position me for the industry. It was how I landed my internship at BET Networks. An alum, Rachelle Brooks, was one of the hiring managers and she received my resume. Almost like it was meant to be.”

Although neither of her parents had obtained a college education, they understood the importance of having one. They supported their daughters’ dreams by funding their education and teaching them the importance of community. Even after retirement, the Wilsons continued to serve their community. The Don and Ann Wilson Marketing Scholars Fund is a continuation of that legacy.

Kimberly hopes that the scholarship’s recipients would use the award to keep going and push through any challenges they may be facing. She gives the following advice to Marketing students: “Go beyond what’s on the page. Study the industry you’re interested in. Understand how that industry makes money and how marketing drives its revenue. Study the greats (CMO’s, Heads of Marketing, etc.). Leverage additional resources like trade publications, podcasts, case studies, etc. Read as much as you can. Joining marketing industry organizations is a great way to network. Lastly, I say stay focused. It’s hard work but worth it in the end.”

The award is open to full-time Marketing majors who hold a grade point average of 2.0 or higher, had a minimum of 12 credit hours at Columbia by the end of Fall 2019, and who will complete 60 credit hours by the end of the Spring 2020 semester. To qualify, students must have filled out the 2020-21 FAFSA and demonstrate financial need. Scholarship recipients will be awarded $5,000 towards their degree at Columbia with half of the award amount distributed in the fall and the other half distributed in the spring.

“My mother is proud that her and my dad’s legacy is tied to something so wonderful. I’m honored to be in a position to provide the support to aspiring marketers. Columbia College Chicago set me on a path for success and I’ll always be grateful for it.”


Daisy Franco
Communications Manager