Although Dr. Lokerson and Dr. Blankenship grew up in different parts of the US – Lokerson from Maryland and Blankenship from Louisiana – their educational backgrounds are almost identical. Both have degrees in elementary education, advanced degrees at Syracuse University in Dr. William Cruickshank's program, Human Growth and Development at the University of Maryland, Special Education and curriculum and instruction. With doctoral degrees in hand, both became University educators in Special Education – Learning Disabilities. In 1974, the Lokerson-Blankenship team were invited to VCU to enhance the newly approved graduate program in learning disabilities. "It was a perfect choice," said Dr. Blankenship, "the students were enthusiastic, the faculty were welcoming, and the administration supportive. We both thoroughly enjoyed our 25 years at VCU." Dr. Jean Lokerson passed away on November 7, 2016. "We had talked about establishing this endowment prior to her death. So it is with great honor to establish the legacy of the Lokerson-Blankenship team with this endowment. Through this fund teachers of the future will benefit from the excellent teacher education program at VCU," said Dr. Blankenship.
Undergraduate and graduate students