By Shruti Bhatt
The University of Maryland received a $220 million investment from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation on Oct. 4, the largest donation the university has ever received, to provide more scholarships for students.
This investment, known as “Building Together: An Investment for Maryland,” will grant need-based scholarships through a campus-wide matching program for outstanding students of any major. The money will also go to the A. James Clark Scholars Program, which will offer scholarships to undergraduate engineering students. Additionally, endowed faculty chairs in programs including neuroscience, robotics, and cyber security will be created. The Clark Doctoral Fellows program will also be launched to help 30 first-year students each year with their research.
University President Wallace D. Loh said in a statement that this investment is a benefit to the state and the nation because it will “empower a new generation of leaders to solve the great challenges of our era,” and “spark innovation.”
Loh praised A. James Clark, a UMD alumnus, and said that he attended UMD through a scholarship and never forgot that fact. The School of Engineering was named after Clark, who has made large investments to UMD in the past. “With these investments, the story of Mr. Clark’s life now comes to full circle,” Loh said.
David Akin, an associate professor and director of the Space Systems Laboratory at the Clark School of Engineering, said that this investment was incredibly generous. Akin attended college on a need-based scholarship. He said he has a lot of empathy for the students who need help.
Regarding the new endowed faculty positions, Akin said he thinks they will let researchers expand their intellectual freedoms.
“The endowment to the faculty is the start of new research directions,” he said.
Junior aerospace engineering major Haley Patel said that this investment will move this university forward by providing students with more resources to succeed.
“This investment gives students like me an amazing opportunity to transform the engineering discipline, and it will help UMD separate itself as one of the leading institutions revolutionizing the tech industry,” she said.
The investment will be given out over the next decade.