This past month I was scanning through one of the dozens of university magazines I receive from member institutions of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU). As the organization’s Executive Director, I find myself on the mailing list for most of our university member’s publications.  Reading university publications is actually something I really enjoy and I get my daily higher-education news dose from the Chronicle or Inside Higher-Ed.

This particular day I was reading Perspectives the News Magazine of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and came across the article “Second Chances”. I was blown away by the stories of students that received the UMKC Bernard Osher Reentry Scholarship.  However, the best part was that when I finished reading this captivating article I strolled down to our Foundation office and approached my colleague Geannine Callaghan about how Towson University could get involved in such a worthwhile scholarship program. I couldn’t believe what Geannine was telling me; this year WE were being awarded a $1 Million grant to endow the Towson University Bernard Osher Reentry Scholarship Program! Not only did I have no idea that we received this amazing grant, but that we have been receiving similar, smaller grants for these scholarships since 2007.

Scholarship Recipient Adania Godwin Photo Credit: University of Missouri-Kansas City

Mr. Osher is an incredibly generous philanthropist who formed the Osher Foundation in 1977 and has focused his funding on higher-education reentry programs, integrative medicine, and lifelong learning. According to the Osher Foundation website, the scholarship can be awarded to students who

  • have experienced a cumulative gap in their education of five or more years;
  • are at the undergraduate level and pursuing their first baccalaureate degree;
  • anticipate workforce participation for a significant period of time subsequent to graduation and ideally be aged 25-50 years;
  • demonstrate financial need;
  • show academic promise and a commitment to obtaining their degree.

We are so lucky to have foundations and people like Bernard Osher to support such worthwhile programs that are focused on helping motivated students get their education back on track.  I look forward to helping spread the message that TU has this resource available and doing anything I can to help these students succeed.

Towson University is home to another Bernard Osher program, the Towson University Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which provides opportunities for continued learning along with programs and activities for social and cultural enrichment to community members 50 and over.  With over 500 members, Osher is a vibrant part of Towson University and the greater Baltimore metropolitan community.