We’re hoping that our unique endowment approach is adopted by benefactors nationwide
Ric Edelman: It's Wednesday, September 13th. Jean and I are engaged in a variety of philanthropic activities. I wanted to tell you about one really new cool thing. We focus our donations generally in just a few specific areas financial literacy, the arts, health care and STEM education.
We're also very active with our alma mater, Rowan University. Jean's on the board of trustees, and we've just done something very different and we hope will prove to be very impactful. Impact is the key word. All our philanthropy is focused on that one word. We don't give money unless the gift will have an impact. That means we do things that if we didn't do them, they wouldn't get done. So we donated millions of dollars to build and support the Planetarium At Rowan University. Tens of thousands of schoolchildren go there every year to learn about astronomy.
We're also funding the construction of the museum and visitor center at the Rowan Fossil Park, which opens next year. The Smithsonian says the museum is one of the five most anticipated museum openings in the entire world. We're really excited about it. It's a world class facility and we expect a quarter of a million visitors a year when it opens. Now at the College for Communication and Creative Arts, we're doing something new. We have funded an endowment to create the Edelman Scholars.
We believe this is a program unlike any other scholarship in the United States, and we hope it serves as a model for everyone everywhere. To qualify as an Edelman scholar, you've got to be an incoming freshman from a low income family. You had to have a 3.5 GPA in high school. And once you're at Rowan, you have to major in the College for Communication and Creative Arts. The Edelman scholars will get 100% of their tuition, housing, meals, books and fees, along with opportunities for internships, work study and community service programs. They'll get professional development support, and they'll be able to participate in an exclusive peer mentoring program.
On top of that to encourage these students to graduate in four years because the average college student now takes six years to graduate. The Edelman scholars who graduate in four years will also receive $17,000 in cash when they graduate. To help them get started in their new adult lives. If they need to go for a fifth year at Rowan, that's 17 grand will cover that fifth year of education. This week, Rowan University announced the selection of the Edelman scholars for the Class of 2027. Jean and I were not involved in the selection of these students.
Let me tell you about the six students. Sophia Ambrosino is an advertising major. She's the first person in her family to go to college.
Christian de Sandra is an RTV major (radio, television and film). He's already written a television series pilot.
Eva de Filippo is also an RTV major. She aspires to be a film director and she performs on stage and works at local theaters.
Jimmy Georges is majoring in Health and Science Communication. She plans on a career in health care communication. In high school, she held several leadership roles, including vice president of the Black Cultural Alliance.
Jocelyn Marie will major in biomedical arts and visualization. She's a first generation college student and she plans to get a PhD, then go to medical school and become a trauma surgeon by majoring in biomedical arts and visualization. Jocelyn's goal is to create accurate and culturally sensitive medical illustrations of historically underrepresented people of color, And she wants to be an advocate for better health care, access for underrepresented communities, and to address systemic health care disparities.
And finally, Martin Sotomayor. He's majoring in sports communication and media. And although he was an athlete in high school, he hopes to become a broadcaster.
By the time these six students are majors, they will be 24 Edelman scholars at Rowan University. Their entire college experience will be fully paid for so they can graduate debt free and they won't have to hold down a couple of jobs while as students so they can focus on their studies. And when they graduate, they'll have $17,000 in cash to help them get started.
Jean and I are very excited about this new program. We hope it will serve as a model across the country for other benefactors who make significant gifts to their alma maters. We all know there's a student debt crisis and a college affordability crisis, and we're hopeful that the Edelman Scholars Program will make an impact in the lives of these students.