The first benefit concert for Boston University’s Tony Barksdale II Memorial Mechanical/Aeronautical Scholarship will be held next month in honor of former BU student Tony Barksdale II, who passed away last March.
Barksdale, then a College of Engineering freshman, died on March 2, 2013, after medical personnel transported him from a function at a home in Allston.
“What I wanted to do was have a negative thing be a positive,” said Barksdale’s father, Tony Barksdale I, who organized the event. “[The scholarship] is in honor of our son because he was a very outgoing, giving, happy person. I want to make sure that he is not forgotten, that good things in his honor can help someone else, because he always was willing to help someone.”
Any high school senior accepted to BU to study engineering is eligible to receive the award from the TB2 Foundation, which administers the scholarship, said Barksdale’s father.
The concert will be held at Souhegan High School in Amherst, N.H., from which Barksdale II graduated two years ago. Barksdale’s father said he aimed to sell out the 457-seat venue, as all proceeds go to the scholarship.
Barksdale’s father said he was inspired to begin a scholarship in part because his son’s former high school basketball coach Michael Heaney started the Tony Barksdale Memorial Scholarship for high school seniors on Souhegan’s varsity basketball team.
“Everybody who knew him loved him,” Heaney said. “So many kids took after him.”
Heaney, who is part of the committee that chooses the recipient of the Mechanical/Aeronautical Scholarship, said the scholarship provides a way to help students with limited opportunities to attend college to do so.
“We needed to do something in his name, in his honor, to help other kids,” Heaney said.
Barksdale’s father said that because his son flew planes from the ages of 12 to 16, he hoped to expand the scholarship to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, but that he was focused on the scholarship’s presence at BU for now.
R&B group Full Force, local hip-hop artist Ofure and others are slated to perform at the benefit concert. Regina Hall, who manages Full Force, said the R&B group was honored to participate in the show.
“Everybody likes to be entertained, but we also want to give back to raise money for the scholarship,” she said. “We’re more than glad to be able to offer that and give something in return in a positive way.”
BU spokesman Colin Riley said Barksdale II had a large impact on BU while attending the university.
“He was very high-achieving and had a presence about him that brought him to the attention of faculty at the College of Engineering,” Riley said. “To the freshmen, he certainly had a bright future … It makes his loss that much more tragic.”
Riley praised those involved in creating the Tony Barksdale II Memorial Mechanical/Aeronautical Scholarship.
“This scholarship that is in his memory and in his name [is] going to afford someone else an opportunity that they otherwise might not have had,” he said.
Barksdale’s father said he hoped the concert and scholarship would, in addition to providing opportunities to potential BU students, also promote the importance of resisting peer pressure.
“Make sure you’re around the right people that are really right for you, that care about your grades and aren’t making you do something that you’re not used to doing just to fit in,” he said.