Honoring Alan Diamonstein

In honor of the late Alan Diamonstein, a true champion of An Achievable Dream who passed away last October, An Achievable Dream received more than $11,000 in donations in his memory. With these memorial donations, An Achievable Dream has created the Alan A. Diamonstein Memorial
Fund and the Alan A. Diamonstein Scholarship. Two annual scholarships, each in the amount of $500, will be awarded to two students each year who are planning to attend the University of Virginia.

Since beginning his political career, Alan Diamonstein was a tireless and passionate advocate for education, racial and socioeconomic equality, and women’s rights, to name a few. He provided many years of wise counsel as both a friend of AAD founder, Walter Segaloff, later attorney and board member for AAD, and as mentor and dear friend to current AAD president and CEO, Dr. Vreeland.

Mr. Diamonstein’s 34 years representing Newport News in the Virginia House of Delegates were spent connecting people, building relationships, and working ceaselessly to make the world and our region a better place. When once asked his greatest hope, he replied “That people understand each other, appreciate each other, and work with each other.”

During his long and distinguished career, he fought for greater state investment in higher education, backing legislation to allow the admission of undergraduate women to the University of Virginia (where he was an alumnus) and supporting bills to increase funding for the public university system’s general operations and student aid. He was a champion not only of education and women’s rights, but the rights of minorities and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds as well. He helped create the Virginia Housing Development Authority to help low-income residents obtain affordable housing and used his in influence to push for diversity, placing women and minorities on state boards and commissions. In the 1960s, he was an outspoken proponent of the desegregation of Newport News schools, in spite of many local politicians strongly opposing it.

Yet, Mr. Diamonstein’s passion and activism was not limited to the State Capitol. He was energetically and passionately engaged with An Achievable Dream since the program’s founding. He loved the students, loved to visit the school, and loved tond creative and impactfulways to support the program and its families.

Mr. Diamonstein would frequently say that experience and exposure to the world are the most important opportunities a student could have. This past school year, to commemorate that vision and provide Dreamers with opportunities to experience the world beyond our local community, the Diamonstein Memorial Fund also helped two UVA Dreamer alumni, Janeen Graves and Najla Mills, travel to Africa to study abroad. Janeen and Najla traveled through different parts of Ghana learning about the cultures and conditions that emerged following colonization. They toured historical sites such as Assin Manso in Kumasi, both the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles in the Cape Coast Colony, and the W.E.B. DuBois center in Accra. Experiencing these sites were essential to their cultivated understanding of The Year of Return and what it means within the African diaspora.

“It means so much to the Diamonstein family to know that Alan’s lifelong passion for education and equitable opportunities for all students lives on through this scholarship fund,” shares Beverly Diamonstein, wife of the late Mr. Diamonstein. “We are incredibly proud of the Dreamers and we know Alan would be too.”

Mr. Diamonstein’s legacy and commitment to education will continue to live on through our Dreamers to whom he was so dedicated. “We know many, many students have been touched by Alan’s hard work and unending dedication over the years,” shares Dr. Vreeland. “And we know it does not end here.

His memory and legacy are alive and well at the Dream, and I know Alan would be immensely proud not only of the Diamonstein Scholarship recipients, but of each and every one of our Dreamers as well. Theirs are the bright futures he worked to make possible every day.”