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Presidential Challenge Announced
For Scholarship Funding

Released: February 2, 2009

Release # 09011

Contact:
Karen Grava, Media Communications
(860) 486-3530

STORRS, CT — President Michael J. Hogan today announced a new Presidential Challenge program to raise $100 million in private funding for scholarships and graduate fellowships at the University of Connecticut.

As an incentive to donors to participate in the program, Hogan said UConn will use $50 million in existing scholarship funds to provide a match for funds given to the UConn Foundation by contributors.

The program has already attracted two major donors, a parent and an alumnus.

The parent, Margaret Keane, of Ridgefield, is the chief executive officer of GE Retail Consumer Finance.  GE has provided her with a performance award that allows her to make a gift to a charity of her choice of $15,000. In addition, she is making a personal gift of $10,000 to be matched by $10,000 from the GE Foundation. This will create a $35,000 endowed scholarship. She is the mother of Brian Hajdarovic, a UConn sophomore studying communications science. 

"My son and I have been talking a lot about how students at UConn are really struggling financially in these very difficult times.  I have always been a strong believer in public higher education,” Keane said. “So when GE gave me an award that has a side benefit of providing money from the GE Foundation to a charity of my choosing, coupled with my personal donation to UConn, it was a simple decision to make. The President's Challenge match provides an even greater incentive to give now because of the additional dollars that will be available to help deserving students complete their college studies.”

The alumnus, Doug Donaldson, of Manchester, a UConn alumnus (Class of 1973) and vice president of Subway Development Corporation of New England, has given $35,000 to the program.

“The matching funds from the University were the deciding factor in our decision,” says Donaldson, a member of the School of Nursing’s Advisory Board, who, with his wife, Lynn, gave the gift for nursing scholarships.

“Nursing students graduate with the highest debt load of any undergraduate major at UConn. Given that the President’s Challenge was available to make our money go further, we felt that now was the best time to make a gift that helps the School of Nursing, and may begin to address Connecticut’s growing shortage of nurses.”

Hogan said he is pleased to work with the UConn Foundation to put this new scholarship and fellowship fund into place precisely as the need for financial aid is increasing. “Students and their families, like everyone else, are being hit hard by the current economic challenges. Given the important role of higher education in catalyzing economic development, we need to seek ways to protect their access to UConn, one of the nation’s top public research universities.”  

Hogan said the donors are wonderful friends to the University and their generosity is appreciated. 

“I’m personally thrilled to name them as the first major contributors to the President’s Challenge Fund” said Hogan. 

“The gifts from both Doug and Margaret will make a real difference in the lives of several students. And the generous match from General Electric for Margaret’s gift takes her generosity a major step further and demonstrates that UConn, private donors, and corporate philanthropy can all work together as partners to advance the interests of the UConn students in these most challenging times.”

The President’s Challenge Fund will use existing University scholarship funds to match  the spending allocation of all newly established scholarship and fellowship endowments generated by private funds at a rate of $1 for every $1 over four years.  An endowment is a permanent fund that preserves principal and uses a portion of earnings to annually support the scholarship.  It also matches contributions for non-endowed scholarship or fellowship funds with 50 cents for every dollar given. To qualify for the program, endowed gifts must be at least $25,000, and non-endowed gifts must be at least $10,000.

The value of the match is that it is an incentive to donors who wish to have a scholarship or fellowship offered in their name and couple their gift with an institutional award.

“The President's Challenge demonstrates to prospective donors, alumni and other friends that the University stands ready to partner with them by matching private donations that enable us to fulfill our academic mission," said Robert McCarthy, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “The university can't meet its mission without private support.  When that support is matched by an investment on our part, we are able to make a significant commitment to assisting our students. I applaud President Hogan for his efforts to support our students especially in these difficult financial times."

The cost of attending UConn for an in-state residential undergraduate is $18,638 annually for tuition, fees, room and board. The cost of graduate education at UConn is $19,500.

“With the demand for financial aid exceeding the supply of available support, and with challenging economic times looming, the need for private sources of student support will continue to grow. Today, it is critically important to maintain strong university scholarship and fellowship opportunities, which is the impetus for this program,” said M. Dolan Evanovich, vice president for enrollment planning, management and institutional research. 

 

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