Mercantile Peninsula Bank Increases Scholarship Endowment
Photo: Representing the bank were Harry Gemmell, senior vice president and regional bank officer; Kathy Johnson, assistant vice president; and Janet Dorsey, manager of the Mt. Vernon branch. Accepting on behalf of UMES were Ayodele J. Alade, Ph.D., dean, School of Business and Technology; Ronald H. Brown, Ph.D., vice president of Student Life and Enrollment Management; and Gains B. Hawkins, vice president, Institutional Advancement.
PRINCESS ANNE, MD –Peninsula Mercantile Bank will enlarge the scholarship endowment it created to aid students majoring in business, management or accounting at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore by $25,000 over the next four years.
“We believe education is important not only to the success of individuals, but to the future of our communities,” said Jeff Turner, president and CEO. “The communities that we serve and the people in those communities have helped make Mercantile Peninsula Bank successful. Giving back in the form of scholarships to students who may not otherwise be able to attend higher education is an important part of our business philosophy. It’s the right thing to do.”
Mercantile Peninsula Bank initially contributed $20,000 in 2005 to establish the scholarship endowment, which, so far, has benefited seven students majoring in business, management or accounting, according to Ayodele J. Alade, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business and Technology.
“Peninsula Bank’s proposal to more than double the size of the endowment over the next four years means that, by 2009, we will have roughly twice as much scholarship money to offer deserving students,” he said.
For the more than 50 percent of UMES students who represent the first generation of their family to go to college, the financial obligation can be staggering. Yet the diploma, and the education it represents, is a ticket to a better life; so most families are willing to undertake it.
“That’s why it is a priority of the current fundraising effort to enlarge the number of endowed scholarships available,” said Ronald H. Brown, Ph.D., vice president of student life and enrollment management. “Almost 50 percent of UMES students graduate in six years, the best percentage among historically black colleges in Maryland.”
The cost of going to college and staying in school remain barriers to graduation for many students, including those at UMES. Over 90 percent of UMES students qualify for federal financial aid.
But they do graduate, most within six years, and begin to “pay it forward,” rewarding the university that helped them up the ladder. In recent years, UMES alumni contributions have increased dramatically, going from 2.5 percent in 2003 to 15 percent in FY2006.
Major gifts to underwrite scholarships at UMES include a $3 million gift from Salisbury-area philanthropist Richard Hazel to fund teacher education in 2004; it was the largest ever by an individual to a black college in Maryland.
Private gifts to the university are made to the UMES Foundation, which is part of the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation separate from the University System of Maryland. The foundation is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The foundation’s purpose is to receive, hold, invest, manage, use, dispose of and administer property of all kinds, whether given absolutely or in trust, or by way of agency or otherwise. Contributions are used entirely for the purpose specified by the donor.
The university has a 120-year tradition of providing students from underserved populations with an opportunity to receive a higher education. Financial support for students is an important focus of the Campaign for Academic Excellence, a seven-year effort to raise $14 million. To date nearly $4.7 million has been raised in the campaign, which runs through 2011.
For more information on the UMES Campaign for Academic Excellence, please contact the Division of Institutional Advancement at 410-651-7773 or go towww.umes.eduand click on “ways to give.”
Ann Wilmer, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Gains B. Hawkins, vice president, UMES Division of Institutional Advancement, 410-651-7773,email@example.com.