Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Drum Major Instinct” message, the Drum Major Empowerment Scholarship Foundation, Inc. (DME) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to supporting students further their education at post secondary institutions. DME provides scholarship awards, college readiness preparation, student leadership development, and hazing prevention education. The overall aim of DME is to empower, enlighten, and positively influence the academic, social, and personal trajectories of students in grades 9 through 12.
During the fall of 2011, Florida A&M University marching band Drum Major, Robert Champion, died after participating in a violent hazing ritual. The following year, FAMU launched a $50,000 research initiative that would give faculty and graduate students at FAMU the opportunity to study the nature and extent of hazing attitudes and behaviors among campus organizations and groups. This research led to a focus on interventions that can be used to increase awareness and strengthen safe participation in student activities. As time progressed, what began as a vehicle to spread hazing prevention education and leadership strategies soon developed into marching band training camps, group facilitated workshops, and interactive educational presentations. This evolved into what is now known as Drum Major Empowerment. DME was founded by Devon Marrett, who served as a Drum Major with the FAMU marching band program for 2 years. He later worked as an assistant with FAMU’s Anti Hazing Research Initiative and earned his graduate degree in Community Psychology.
The mission of the Drum Major Empowerment Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is to empower, enlighten, and positively impact the academic, social, and personal trajectories of students attending postsecondary institutions.