Osher Foundation president announces $1 million scholarship endowment

Gift furthers UMKC’s commitment to nontraditional undergraduate students

Mary G.F. Bitterman, Ph.D., president of the San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation, will announce a $1 million endowment and $50,000 “bridge” grant for the Osher Reentry Scholarship Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremonies.

Moved by UMKC Osher scholars’ stories and by UMKC’s commitment to nontraditional students, the Osher Foundation Board presented UMKC with a $1 million Osher Reentry Scholarship Program endowment. UMKC is one of only nine U.S. schools to receive a $1 million Osher Reentry Scholarship Program endowment this year.

The Osher Reentry Scholarship Program provides students between the ages of 25 and 50 who have experienced at least a five-year interruption in their education an opportunity to resume undergraduate studies at select four-year baccalaureate institutions. Osher scholarship candidates must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours, demonstrate financial need and maintain a 2.75 GPA. Awardees receive at least $5,000 from the Osher Foundation and as much as $2,000 from UMKC.

“Older scholars often have family and financial obligations greater than those of traditionally aged students,” Bitterman said. “At the same time, they have less access to financial aid. The Bernard Osher Foundation began the expansion of its support for ‘reentry’ students in 2005 after being inspired by programs at Mills and Dominican Colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area and noting the tremendous potential represented by older students seeking their first baccalaureate degree.”

Since the fall of 2007, the Osher Foundation has provided a total of $150,000 in scholarship funding to 18 nontraditional UMKC students. By providing scholarship funding, the Osher Foundation has applauded and reinforced UMKC’s efforts to assist nontraditional students. Two notable efforts include UMKC’s Center for Academic Development, which provides mentoring and academic success workshops and UMKC’s Program for Adult College Education (PACE), which provides weeknight, weekend, independent study and online courses designed for working adults.

UMKC’s Osher scholars have faced several obstacles – coping with financial burdens, caring for ill family members and serving in the armed forces. Despite these obstacles, they are excited to continue their educational journeys at UMKC.

“UMKC is one of nine universities this year whose Osher Reentry Scholarship Program has achieved a level of prominence worthy of receiving an endowed fund from the Osher Foundation,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton. “This highlights UMKC as a model urban university that is committed to the success of nontraditional students.”

The commencement ceremonies will take place at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday, May 7 at UMKC’s Swinney Recreation Center, 5030 Holmes St.

About The Bernard Osher Foundation

The Bernard Osher Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader. The Foundation seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts. The Foundation provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, with special attention to reentry students. It also benefits programs in integrative medicine in the U.S. and Sweden. For more information, visit http://www.osherfoundation.org.

About UMKC

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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