• photos by Evan Semón Photography 

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma, will be providing yearly scholarships to student athletes attending Northeastern Junior College in Sterling.

Wellington Webb served in the Colorado House of Representatives in the 1970s, and later was Denver’s first African-American mayor. He was first elected as mayor in 1991 and served three terms.

Also an elected official, Wilma Webb served six terms in the Colorado House of Representatives. She was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1991.

According to a news release, Wellington Webb decided to attend NJC following a gap year that he took after graduating from high school in Denver. During the gap year, Webb split his time among family members in Indiana and Chicago. As he was returning home to Denver, he saw a sign for NJC on the highway and decided to check out the campus. He asked to see the basketball coach, and the two talked, played some hoops and eventually, then-Coach Roy Edwards asked Webb to attend NJC.

“When I got back to Denver, I told my grandmother that I was going to college and she was thrilled,” Webb said in a news release. “NJC gave me a second chance in life.”

While studying at NJC, Webb received all-conference honors playing basketball.

The Webb scholarships will total $2,000 each year, with $1,000 going to one male student athlete and $1,000 going to one female student athlete for the next 10 years.

The college’s athletic department, coaches and athletic director will select the scholarship candidates and present them to the Webb family. The scholarship committee that will choose the recipients are the Webb’s son, Anthony Webb; daughter, Stephanie O’Malley; and grandson, Allen Webb II.

“The NJC men and women basketball teams work hard to succeed on the court and in the classroom, and having strong leaders on their side is invaluable,” said Vivian Hadley, executive director of the NJC Foundation, in a news release. “Aiding a student financially helps them concentrate on academics, and to know they have someone rooting for them to succeed through education can make the difference for student success.”