On September 23rd, Montgomery County residents will gather at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda for the Leggett Legacy Forward event celebrating County Executive Ike Leggett and his wife Catherine’s years of outstanding service and their commitment to higher education. The event is a culmination of their effort to establish a legacy gift that will serve the county in perpetuity -- the Ike and Catherine Leggett Scholarship. The scholarship will benefit the county’s historically underrepresented students in higher education through the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program.

The Leggett's goal is to raise one million dollars to support the scholarship.  Donations are being accepted before, during, and after the free event.

The Strathmore is a long way from Alexandria, Louisiana, where Isiah “Ike” Leggett was born in 1945. Ike was one of 12 siblings in the post-war deep-south, where poverty was a fact of life, segregation ruled the land, and higher education was an unrealistic dream. But Ike was determined to pursue a bachelor’s degree and did so at Southern University. After graduating, Ike served as an officer in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War. When he returned, he continued his education at Howard University Law School. It was this decision that was instrumental in forming his future. Over the next few years, Ike served as a lawyer, a White House Fellow under President Jimmy Carter, and a university professor. Four college degrees later, Ike became the first African American elected to the Montgomery County Council.

Ike became one of the County’s most respected public servants, and education was at the core of his platform. He and his wife, Catherine, have always firmly believed that education is instrumental to everyone’s success. The Ike and Catherine Leggett Scholarship is their way of making sure that the commitment lives on after Ike’s third term as County Executive ends in December.  

“We wanted to identify a scholarship program that reaches out and helps those who want to advance but don’t have the financial means to do it, so ACES is just perfect,” Catherine Leggett said. “We believe that it is so important to go to college, we believe that college education gives you the discipline, the vision, and a focus for your future.”

The ACES program is a partnership among Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Montgomery College (MC), and the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). This free program provides access to individualized academic coaching, career readiness, and scholarship opportunities.

The event is free and open to everyone, but those interested in attending must reserve a ticket through either the Leggett Legacy Forward or the Strathmore website. ACES students and coaches will attend and provide information to anyone interested in learning more about the program. In addition, award-winning jazz musician Marcus Johnson will perform.

The Leggetts are encouraging all Montgomery County residents to support the Ike and Catherine Leggett Scholarship fund. To donate visit the Montgomery College Foundation or the Universities at Shady Grove Foundation.