Abington School District in southeastern Pennsylvania has announced a $25 million gift from Blackstone CEO and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman in support of Abington Senior High School, his alma mater.
The largest gift ever to an individual public school will support the addition of a new science and technology center, a complete renovation of the 1950s-era high school building, and changes to the curriculum, creating a state-of-the-art learning environment designed to ensure that Abington high school graduates are prepared for the fastest-growing industries.
Changes to the curriculum will include required classes in computer science and coding beginning in seventh grade, with computers provided for use both in school and at home. The revised curriculum also will provide students with more flexibility to choose classes across a range of subjects and specialties and provide greater exposure to a variety of fields. Complementing these changes, the district will expand school counseling services so that children can explore their career interests earlier in life.
In 2015, Schwarzman gave $40 million to the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition assistance to eight thousand largely minority students in New York City to attend Catholic high schools, and in 2013 he founded an international scholarship program, Schwarzman Scholars, at Tsinghua University in Beijing to help prepare the next generation of global leaders. The private equity billionaire also has given $150 million to establish a student center and performing arts hub at Yale University, $100 million to support the transformation and renovation of the New York Public Library's main branch, and funds for the construction of a new stadium at Abington Senior High.
"This year marks the hundred and thirtieth anniversary of Abington School District, and throughout our history we have dedicated ourselves to preparing more than eight thousand students per year for the future, including Mr. Schwarzman," said Abington School District superintendent Amy Sichel. "We appreciate his recognition of our student successes and are grateful that he is supporting Abington High School through this generous donation as we embark on an exciting new chapter for our students, a thousand-plus district staff members, and the entire school district community."
(Image credit: Abington High School, courtesy of Gilbert Architects)