Henson Foundation Presents Challenge Gift to UMES Foundation

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Henson Challenge GiftPRINCESS ANNE, MD---The Richard A. Henson Foundation has made a $1.5 million challenge gift to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Foundation to establish the Henson Entrepreneurs and Scholars Endowment Program.

    The Henson Entrepreneurs and Scholars Program will focus on producing globally competent, entrepreneurial-minded graduates in business, science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

    Steve Farrow, chairman of the board of directors of the Henson Foundation, said, "With so many deserving causes and institutions in the local area, one of the difficult tasks we face as Richard A. Henson Foundation trustees is deciding how to allocate the Foundation's resources.  However, in the case of UMES, it was an easy decision because of Richard Henson's strong feelings for and belief in this institution." 

    "Over 20 years ago," continued Farrow, "he and Dr. William Hytche had a vision of what UMES could be.  Mr. Henson gave of his resources and today much of that vision is reality.   We as Henson trustees are proud and honored to carry on that tradition with a grant of $1.5 million to the UMES Campaign for Academic Excellence."  

    Cumulative gifts from Mr. Henson and his foundation to UMES now total $4.4 million.  The university will additionally recognize Mr. Henson's transformational and inter-generational generosity by naming the Richard A. Henson (UMES) Honors Program in his honor.

    "I was unable to meet Mr. Henson personally as he passed away soon after I was hired as president of UMES," said Dr. Thelma B. Thompson.  "But I feel I have come to know this most kind, generous, philanthropic and adventurous of men through his biography and stories from his friends." 

    "His legacy outlives him though that philanthropy at UMES and in so many other worthy causes on the Eastern Shore," Thompson added.  "The outcome of his generosity is the Henson Leaders and Scholars who are making their own marks in Maryland and the world.  Mr. Henson is giving those young people an education which will create the financial impetus to a better life.  We will be forever grateful."

    All Henson Entrepreneurs and Scholars will be instilled with the philanthropic vision of Mr. Henson to assure continued proliferation and adoption of his values.

    The endowment will fund student scholarships, faculty development, a summer bridge program for matriculating freshmen scholars, internships, mentoring, a lecture series, regional cultural activities and global experiences.  Residents of the Lower Shore of Maryland (Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties), Accomack County in Virginia and Sussex County in Delaware who meet the academic qualifications will receive preference.  Scholarship funds will also be set aside for rising sophomores and rising juniors, with preference to students transferring from Wor-Wic Community College.  Scholarships are for four years and cover tuition and fees.

    The Henson Foundation will make five annual gifts of $300,000 to the UMES Foundation.  The university will secure matching annual amounts for the Henson Honors Program from private donors and federal sources.

    UMES is in the midst of the seven-year $14 million Campaign for Academic Excellence.  The campaign priority is endowed student scholarships.

    For more information about the Henson Entrepreneurs and Scholars Programx