Celebrating the life of Phyllis Scott Buford
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1940 – 2016
Phyllis Ann Scott was born in Beckville, TX on August 18, 1940. She was the first born of Truman Steed Scott, a school teacher, and Ell Rayson Scott, who maintained the home and care for Phyllis and her three siblings.
After high school, Phyllis attended Texas College, a historically black institution in Tyler, TX. At Texas College, Phyllis received a BA in English. Her reason was simple. It was her best subject.
After completing her studies at Texas College in 1962, she left Texas and travelled to Kansas City, KS to teach English in the public school system. A year later, when her college sweetheart, Sharnia “Tab” Buford, was drafted into the U.S. Army, Phyllis joined him in Salinas, CA where they were married. While her husband fulfilled his military obligation, Phyllis returned to Kansas to resume her teaching career. Upon his return from military duty they established a home in Kansas City, KS. Although she was working full-time, she later decided to further her education by earning her Masters of Education from the University of Kansas (KU). Between work and study, Phyllis achieved one of her most treasured accomplishments when she was blessed with the arrival of her first and only child, Rhae Shawn. Before long, however, Phyllis made the decision to pursue Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research full time from KU traveling between Kansas City and New Rochelle, NY.
After completing her doctoral studies she accepted a position at Medgar Evers College, one of eleven senior colleges of City University of New York. After rising through the ranks at Medgar Evers to Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Assistant to the Provost for Adult Continuing Education, she went on to serve as National Associate Director for the United Negro College Fund’s $250 million dollar capital campaign; and later became Vice President of Development for The National Urban League.
On January 1, 1996, Phyllis was appointed CEO at The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (The Consortium) in St. Louis, MO. She was very passionate about helping young minorities gain access to MBA degrees through this program comprising 12 universities nationwide during her term. She demonstrated her commitment by being hands on and intimately involved in every aspect of the organization. After six years of service, Phyllis left The Consortium in 2002 to join her husband in Memphis, TN where she was Vice President of Institutional Development at Le-Moyne Owen College until she resigned in 2004.
Thereafter, she acted as a consultant for two HBCU’s. In this capacity Phyllis served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at both Wiley College in Marshall, TX and Bennett College in Greensboro, NC after which she retired.
Very active in the community, she has served on several boards. In the St. Louis area, she was a board member of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, the Vice President of the Gateway Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, a national service organization, a member of the corporate Advisory Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBA and the Junior Achievement of St. Louis. Nationally, Dr. Buford was a founding member and board member of the Diversity Pipeline Alliance, an affiliation of the Graduate Management Admissions Council, Planned Parenthood of New York City, Harlem Dowling Children’s Services, National Vice President of Minority Political Women, Board Member of the Acting Company in NYC and a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Before her retirement she was also a board member for the St. George's Independent School in Memphis, TN, and a member of Association of Fund Raising Professionals, Council for the Support of Education, Meeting Planners International and New Sardis Baptist Church.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents and brother Truman “Conrad” Scott Jr. She leaves to cherish her memories, her husband, Sharnia “Tab” Buford; daughter, Rhae Shawn Kabantu; son-in law, Stephane Kabantu; son, Bruce Buford and his wife Irina; her sisters Carolyn Stephens and Delphine Scott; four grandchildren; a host of nieces nephews, cousins; and other relatives and friends.
Special thanks to her all her physicians, especially Dr. Freddie Everson, medical staff, and home care givers.
Visitation from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at Serenity Funeral Home. Funeral services at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 10, 2016 at New Sardis Baptist Church, 7739 E. Holmes Road. Burial at West TN Veterans Cemetery.
Serenity Funeral Home, 1638 Sycamore View Rd., Memphis, TN 38134, Tel. (901) 379-0861
4000 Forest Hill Irene Road
Memphis, TN 38125