Anonymous Donor's Gifts Now Total $4.8 Million In Support of UB's Distinguished Honors Scholars Program

Release Date: February 17, 1999 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. - The gift comes anonymously, but the results -- UB's Distinguished Honors Scholars Program and the talented undergraduate students it attracts from across the country -- are highly visible and increasingly well known on campus.

Come May, the program, launched when an anonymous donor in 1995 donated a $1.6 million cash gift to fund it, will graduate its first class of 10 students, who entered UB in Fall 1995. Some have taken double majors. One studied a semester at Oxford. Others have combined graduate and undergraduate studies. Most are planning to attend graduate or professional schools, studying in areas from medicine to management, to mathematics, to computer science.

A recent cash gift of $800,000 from the same donor will provide full scholarships for 15-20 freshmen entering UB this coming fall, when more than 75 Distinguished Honors Scholars will be studying in an all four undergraduate years.

It brings the anonymous donor's total cash contribution to date to $4.8 million.

"The success of this program since its inception is a testament to UB's commitment to ensuring high-caliber undergraduates are benefiting from the exceptional education offered by the university," the donor noted. The goal of the gifts has been to expand opportunities in learning and research for talented students who lack financial resources.

President William R. Greiner noted that the scholarships funded by the donor's gifts "have brought some of the nation's top students to UB." The first participants graduating this spring, "have been true leaders in our classrooms and labs and have contributed greatly to the quality of campus life."

The latest gift from the anonymous donor, Greiner added, is "a generous and fitting tribute to the exceptional students in the Distinguished Honors Scholars Program."

He noted: "The word is out about these fine scholarships and the high-caliber education we offer, because we're seeing a greater number of top students applying to and attending UB." Kerry S. Grant, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the value of the anonymous donor's gifts is greater than the individual scholarships.

"Scholarships that allow exceptional students to attend a premier public research university are excellent investments," Grant added. "In addition to benefiting good students directly, these scholarships enrich the entire campus community. This core of bright, highly motivated students elevates the general level of academic performance among their peers, and constantly challenges our faculty to be their best.

"In future years, as they become leaders in their chosen fields and in their communities, the Distinguished Honors Scholars will provide returns on this investment many times over," he said.

Among the 10 Distinguished Honors Scholars who will graduate in May are Lisa dos Santos of Long Island and Joshua Berne of Brooklyn.

Dos Santos chose UB because of the Distinguished Honors Scholars Program, which has paid her tuition, room, board, fees and transportation to and from campus for the past four years.

"The program gave me a true love of learning and the scholarship freed me financially so I could study and continue my figure skating...the other part of my life," she explained. Dos Santos will continue her relationship with UB by attending its medical school.

Berne is still selecting a graduate school where he will prepare to become a research professor in mathematics. The Distinguished Honors scholarship kept Berne safely in school even after his father lost his job during his freshman year at UB.

"The scholarship was very valuable because I didn't have to worry about earning money, so I could spend my time taking graduate courses along with my undergraduate work," Joshua added. "Having taken advantage of this great opportunity, I am better prepared to face future academic challenges."

While the anonymous donor has offered a strong base for the Distinguished Honors Scholars Program, he believes university alumni and friends must contribute as well so that this program can continue into the next millennium. One such response was the announcement last May by the late Eleanor V. Millonzi that she was donating $250,000 to endow the Robert I. and Eleanor V. Millonzi Distinguished Honors Scholarship, which every four years will fund a full scholarship for an outstanding student in art or music.

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