Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield (center) stands with Celeste Johnson Morehead and Rochester Johnson Jr. prior to the start of the Rochester Johnson Sr. Scholarship Banquet on Sunday.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield drew a crowd for the 27th annual Rochester Johnson Sr. Scholarship Banquet in Dothan on Sunday.

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and Leadership Coalition founded by Johnson more than three decades ago holds the banquet each year to raise funds for college scholarships.

Holyfield and Johnson’s son, Rochester Johnson Jr., have been friends for more than 20 years and became business associates of a recording company. Holyfield has been a frequent visitor to Dothan over the years.

The IMALC organization is an affiliate of Renaissance Wives and helps keep groups in Dothan connected to the needs of the community.

Each year it holds events to commemorate the life of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King and Johnson both believed in the power of education.

“They spent their lives trying to educate others to become the best they could be,” according to information about the scholarship on CrowdRise.com, an online fundraising platform. “IMALC tries to invest in our children and in the lives of our community.”

Celeste Johnson Morehead, president of the organization, said students obtain scholarship applications from guidance counselors at high schools in the Wiregrass area.

She said the scholarships help offset the cost of college and get students where they need to be.

“Sometimes they don’t qualify for certain scholarships so it’s not geared toward a specific group,” she said. “It’s for any student, any area.”

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