The largest gift ever to the university will endow the Bison STEM Scholars Program, which will be renamed for Oaktree Capital Management co-founder and co-chair Bruce A. Karsh and his wife, Martha L. Karsh, an attorney and designer. With the aim of increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who earn a PhD or a combined MD/PhD in a STEM discipline, the STEM Scholars Program provides approximately thirty scholars a year with mentoring, immersive learning experiences, and scholarships covering 100 percent of their tuition and fees.
The gift also will establish the Lomax KIPP Scholarships program, which is designed to cover the difference between financial aid received and the cost of attendance for graduates of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), a nationwide network of high-performing public schools in underserved communities. The scholarships are named in honor of United Negro College Fund president and CEO Michael L. Lomax, with whom Martha Karsh serves on the board of the KIPP Foundation.
"We are grateful to Martha and Bruce Karsh for their transformative investment and support of our students and our vision to create a diverse workforce of highly skilled scholars equipped to take on careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math," said Howard University president Wayne A.I. Frederick. "When we created this program, with the support of the board of trustees, we envisioned building a model program to demonstrate how higher education can serve as a pipeline to diversify STEM fields nationally, but we knew it wouldn't be sustainable without external resources. This gift will ensure that Howard can train the nation's brightest students who desire to obtain their PhD or combined MD/PhD for generations to come."
"We are inspired by Dr. Lomax's passion to remove all obstacles for underserved students and his relentless passion to advocate for historically black colleges and universities," said the Karshes in a statement. "We share his vision of creating a more equitable and affordable education system from preschool to graduate school, and we are proud to honor his name with this scholarship at an institution as prestigious and historically significant as Howard University."