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Howard University Receives $10 Million, Its Largest Gift Ever, for STEM Program

Howard University received a $10 million donation to forward its efforts to prepare its students for a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The donation was gifted by the Karsh Family Foundation and is the largest donation the university has ever received, according to The Washington Post. The money will be used to fund Bison STEM Scholars Program (BSSP), which will be renamed Karsh STEM Scholars Program (KSSP). The BSSP was founded in 2017 to “increase the number of underrepresented minorities earning a Ph.D. or combined M.D./Ph.D. in a STEM discipline,” per a press release from Howard.

Howard University School of Social Work students
Howard University receives $10 million endowment, the largest in the institution’s history. (Photo: Howard University on Facebook)

The program admits about 30 students a year and gives them full scholarships, study-abroad programs, internships and other benefits. Howard has been credited with awarding 130 science and engineering doctorates between 2013 and 2017, more than any other HBCU.

“We are grateful to Martha and Bruce Karsh for their transformative investment and support of our students and our vision to create a diverse workforce of highly-skilled scholars equipped to take on careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Howard President Wayne A. I. Frederick.

The Karsh Family Foundation was founded in 1998 by attorneys Martha and Bruce Karsh to fund scholarships and other education-related expenses. The organization has doled out $250 million in funding since its inception, per WTOP. Spelman College received $2 million from the Karsh Family Foundation in February 2018, according to a press release.

“We are excited to endow this visionary program at Howard,” Martha and Bruce Karsh said in a statement.

“Simply put, we believe education, expertise and research in STEM fields will define mankind’s future, and we are proud to be able to help Howard attract and support the best and brightest students for its already renowned program.”

The donation will also sponsor the Lomax KIPP Scholarships, which will be awarded to graduates of the Knowledge is Power Program network of charter schools. The schools serve students from underprivileged backgrounds.

A statement from Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation, said the organization is “filled with gratitude” for the scholarship.

“This scholarship and our partnership with Howard will ensure more KIPP students have access to a phenomenal college education and the opportunity to pursue their passions,” Barth continued.

The scholarship is named after UNCF head Dr. Michael L. Lomax, who sits on KIPP’s board of directors with Martha Karsh.

“We are inspired by Dr. Lomax’s passion to remove all obstacles for underserved students, and his relentless passion to advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs),” the Karshes said in a statement. “We share his vision of creating a more equitable and affordable education system from preschool to graduate school, and we are proud to honor his name with this scholarship at an institution as prestigious and historically significant as Howard University.”

The Lomax scholarship will award a full ride for two students every year. Interested students have until Jan. 30 to apply for the KSSP scholars program and until Feb. 15 for the scholarship.

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