A pair of Marquette University
alumni have established a new scholarship for first-generation college students pursuing engineering degrees at the school's Opus College of Engineering
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The scholarship, established through a $3.5 million endowment from married couple Donald and Frances Herdrich, will cover the full cost of tuition and room and board. Called the Donald J. and Frances I. Herdrich Endowed Scholarship for Engineering, it will be awarded to one freshman each year beginning with the 2017-18 school year, and follow that student through their years at Marquette.
“Fran and I believe strongly in providing scholarship opportunities for worthy students, particularly those students who are the first in their family to attend college,” Don Herdrich said. “Marquette, in particular, does an outstanding job of nurturing first-generation college students to ensure their success, which is why we are so excited to fund this scholarship at our alma mater.”
Around 23 percent of Marquette's most recent freshman class are first-generation college students, according to a statement released by Marquette on Thursday announcing the endowment. The Herdrichs were both the first people in their respective families to graduate from college. Donald Herdrich graduated from Marquette's engineering school in 1966. The engineering scholarship is the second they have established at Marquette.
"I’ve had the privilege to get to know Don and Fran since becoming president at Marquette and I’m so thankful for their leadership support of our students through endowed scholarship,” said Marquette University president Michael Lovell. “They were diligent in crafting this scholarship to maximize its future impact on talented, underserved students in the Milwaukee community and beyond.
Opus Dean of Engineering Kristina Ropella said Marquette will search nationally for students with strong academic records while awarding the scholarships.
“We can look for the best of the best, and look for more diversity in our students,” she said. “This gift provides support for students who may not have the same academic preparation advantages or family support that other students may have so they can pursue a college education. We want to take away enough of the financial burden so they can focus on academics and share in being a part of the Marquette community.”