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Robert Gilliard, a dentist who is president of the Mobile, Ala., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has become the first black to be elected president of the Mobile County school board. He is one of two black members on the five-member board.

The Mobile County district has been involved in legal controversies over its attempt to settle a desegregation lawsuit stemming from 1963 and its use of textbooks that some parents say advance "secular humanism."


Avron B. Fogelman, a Memphis real-estate developer and co-owner of the Kansas City Royals professional baseball team, has promised to guarantee tuition to Memphis State University for low-income children in the city who earn good grades and work to improve their communities.

The scholarship program, announced Nov. 17, will begin next year with 7th-grade students in the Memphis and Shelby County school systems whose families earn $15,000 or less a year. About 3,800 students are eligible to apply, Mr. Fogelman said.

The students must maintain grades of at least C-plus or better through high school and take part in two community projects a year. Upon graduation, they must apply for whatever other student aid is available; the scholarship program will make up any shortfalls in meeting their tuition.

Mr. Fogelman announced the creation of the program at a press conference attended by Gov. Ned McWherter of Tennessee and top city and county officials. In 1982, he and his brother gave Memphis State $3.5 million. The university's business school is named after them.

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