Anonymous $6 Million Gift Will Help Students Weather Economic Woes

Unnamed benefactor directs that monies go to fund scholarships for worthy students

By Kerry O'Neill ( |   April 2, 2009

April 20, 2009 Update: Watch a Fox News Video about the mystery donation and one of its scholarship recipients.

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ADELPHI, Md. (April 2, 2009) – UMUC announced today that it has received an anonymous $6 million donation, with $1 million allotted to unrestricted funds and $5 million earmarked for scholarships. Half of the scholarship monies will be invested in an endowed fund, with the income funding a variety of annual scholarships. The remaining $2.5 million will be disbursed immediately and in the coming academic year, funding approximately 400 partial and full scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $20,000.

“It would be hard to exaggerate the immediate, measurable and lasting impact that this remarkable act of generosity will have on the lives of hundreds of UMUC students, particularly in these challenging economic times,” said UMUC President Susan C. Aldridge. “We can only hope that this donor—whom we do not know and cannot thank in person—will hear our heartfelt thanks amplified a thousandfold in the gratitude of the students whose lives he or she has touched and whose futures have been made brighter by the promise of higher education.”

The university has already begun identifying scholarship recipients using need- and merit-based criteria. The majority of funds are going to graduates of Maryland community colleges, the spouses of active-duty or retired military servicemembers and applicants to UMUC’s new Master of Arts in Teaching program, which promises to address critical shortages of high school teachers in fields like computer science, earth/space science and mathematics.