George Washington University in Washington, D.C., has announced a $7 million gift from alumnus Gilbert Cisneros and his wife, Jacki, to create a leadership institute that helps Hispanic students matriculate and graduate from top four-year colleges and universities.
The GW Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute will offer a pre-college program to high school juniors from around the country, with priority given to students of Hispanic heritage who are committed to leadership and service within the Hispanic community. Prior to their senior year in high school, students will participate in a summer workshop in Washington, D.C., where they will learn the fundamentals of selective college enrollment and engage in a variety of activities and experiences designed to increase their knowledge and interest in attending and graduating from a top college or university.
The gift also will establish the Cisneros Scholars program, which will provide scholarships to a select group of students who enroll at GW and demonstrate a commitment to leadership, community service, and giving back to the Hispanic community.
GW aims to enroll twenty Cisneros Scholars within four years. Students in each entering class will be granted scholarships totaling at least $250,000 that are renewable for four years. The university will welcome the first class of high school scholars in the summer of 2016 and the first enrolled full-time undergraduate students during the 2016-17 academic year.
"I have always believed that since this university is the nation’s university, the students should be reflective of the nation’s population," said Cisneros, a 1994 GW graduate. "As more students begin to realize their dreams of higher education, the George Washington University will be able to educate the next group of citizen-leaders — just as President George Washington once envisioned."