The William Randolph Hearst Foundation awards $100,000 to Fairfield University to fund scholarships for students at inner-city high schools

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation awards $100,000 to Fairfield University to fund scholarships for students at inner-city high schools

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation has awarded Fairfield University $100,000 to help endow The Community Partnership Scholarship Program at Fairfield, which provides free tuition for four years to students from partnering inner-city high schools in Bridgeport and New Haven, Conn. and New York City. The program also helps the schools provide their students with information about applying to, financing and succeeding in college.

"We are deeply grateful to the William Randolph Hearst Foundation for its support of our Community Partnership Scholarship Program," said Dr. Orin Grossman, Fairfield University's academic vice president. "This program allows us to reach out to under-represented students to help provide them with a quality education, and their presence at Fairfield enriches the education of all of our students."

Fairfield University launched the scholarship program in 1999, joining with 10 high schools from the three regions to each year present the top student from each of the schools who wanted to attend Fairfield University with a full-tuition scholarship for his or her four years at the University. The students also receive a computer and appropriate post-admission academic and social support.

"A lot of these inner-city schools are under-resourced," said Judith Dobai, associate academic vice president for enrollment management at Fairfield University. "We wanted to help in any way we could." Through the program, Fairfield brings students from the schools to its campus once a year to attend financial aid workshops and college counseling.

"The premise of the program was to move beyond just admitting students to making sure that they are able to attend," Dobai said.

The program was designed to help reduce and, where possible, eliminate financial barriers confronting low-income students in targeted high schools who are academically prepared to attend college. It also furthers Fairfield's goal to increase diversity within its student body.

"For many years the Office of Admissions has been committed to diversifying our student population," she said. "This program has been a tangible way to focus on bringing more urban students to campus."

The program is funded each year by the University and a generous grant from the William Pitt Foundation. The William Pitt Foundation is located in Connecticut and its grant supports students from Bridgeport high schools. The University is moving to fully endow the program, so that its funding is self-perpetuating, Dobai said, noting that the Hearst grant is a significant step toward achieving that endeavor.

The Hearst Foundation, Inc. was founded in 1945 by philanthropist William Randolph Hearst. In 1948, Mr. Hearst established the California Charities Foundation. That name was changed to the William Randolph Hearst Foundation soon after Mr. Hearst's death in 1951. Both Foundations are independent private philanthropies operating separately from The Hearst Corporation. The two Foundations are administered out of the headquarters in New York City. The charitable goals of the two Foundations are essentially the same, and reflect the philanthropic interests of William Randolph Hearst - education, health, social service and culture. Within these four areas, the Foundations assist institutions in providing opportunities to underserved and underrepresented populations.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation has been committed to Fairfield University over a number of years and endowed a scholarship for students from the business school with an initial grant in 1986, said Noél Appel, director, Foundation Relations at Fairfield University.

Chrystie Cruz, a junior at Fairfield University, is one of the current recipients of the scholarship. A resident of Brooklyn who attended high school in Manhattan, Cruz was looking for a new experience and different environment for college. The scholarship made that possible, Cruz said.

"Without the scholarship being offered to me, there's no way I would have been able to go to a four-year university outside of New York," said Cruz, who majors in international studies and history at the University. "It would have been too much for my parents."

The scholarship is particularly helpful in that it also covers any tuition increases, said Cruz, who serves as a resident assistant at Fairfield University and works at the Fairfield YMCA. Cruz has become very involved on campus, serving as president of the Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA), a member of the African American and Caribbean Student Association (UMOJA), a member of the AHANA (African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) student council and as cultural director for the Fairfield University Student Association.

Posted On: 11-07-2005 10:11 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 110