For years, Lamonte McIntyre’s classroom was held within the confines of a prison, where he studied for a GED and took college courses.
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” McIntyre said Thursday, the morning after learning the news. “I started my college career in prison, so to be able to finish is great.”
The Kansas City, Kan., man attended the Urban League of Greater Kansas City’s Difference Maker Awards Luncheon on Wednesday. While there, MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty and Penn Valley President Tyjaun Lee met him and heard his story of trial and triumph.
On the spot, they decided to offer McIntyre a scholarship.
“His story moved both of us,” Beatty said, according to a release issued by the college. “The mission of a community college is to make higher education accessible and affordable to all, but in Mr. McIntyre’s case, we felt compelled to do more.”
McIntyre is also taking classes at a barber academy. He hopes to one day open his own salon.
“I want to be able to help my community ... and help those less fortunate,” he said. “Most of my business will be non-profit.”
He plans to study business at Penn Valley and added that the scholarship offer came as a complete shock to him and the attorney who helped free him, Cheryl Pilate.
Kansas is one of 18 states that offers no compensation to the wrongly convicted.
His mother, Rosie McIntyre, thanked the community for the support it’s shown her son since his release.
“Yesterday’s event was wonderful,” she said. “There are just so many loving, caring people who have supported my son. I’m overjoyed.”