A transformative gift of $10.9 million from Jeanne Zweig, will create an endowed fund to help students with physical disabilities pursue an education and earn their degree. The fund will generate approximately $450,000 every year in perpetuity to benefit Jeanne Zweig scholarship recipients.
The donation from Zweig is among the largest gifts awarded to a university in support of students with disabilities. Details related to the gift and subsequent scholarship were finalized at the end of last year, and Temple plans to begin awarding the scholarship to eligible students this fall.
“On behalf of the Temple community, we extend our profound gratitude to the Jeanne Zweig estate and Ms. Zweig’s extended family for this generous gift,” said Mary Burke, vice president of institutional advancement. “Throughout her life Jeanne supported Temple students with disabilities who, like her, had their sights set on making an impact in the world. We are honored to further advance that mission through the Jeanne Zweig Endowment.”
Temple enjoys a long history as a leader in supporting students of all backgrounds and abilities. Since 1981, Temple has been recognized annually by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation for providing exemplary services to students with disabilities. In 1985, the university established its Adapted Recreation and Sports program, which was the only program of its kind at the time and provided students with disabilities opportunities to participate in recreational activities.
Today, the Office of Disability Resources (DRS) offers a variety of scholarships, provides assistance to students with things like housing and academic accommodations, and organizes the SHOUT peer support group, which allows students to connect, advocate and lend support to one another. The office also works closely with the Career Center to provide career development and employment opportunities for students and alumni.
“The number of students with disabilities we welcome at Temple has grown from 50 in 1977 to nearly 3,500 in 2020,” said Carrie Snyder, director of DRS. “The commitment to accessibility is strong here at Temple, and thanks to the Jeanne Zweig Endowment, we will continue to expand the services and opportunities available to our students with disabilities.”
Zweig, who was born with cerebral palsy, attended Temple and majored in accounting. She graduated at the top of her class from the Fox School of Business and earned her MBA at Fox the following year. Zweig worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC upon graduating from Temple, and she would later go on to start her own successful accounting firm, Zweig, Ramick & Associates.
“Jeannie just kept booking along. Nothing stopped her,” said Karen Leshner, Zweig’s niece and director of the Jeanne Zweig Charitable Foundation. Leshner said Zweig’s practice served customers around the world, including customers living in Australia, who Zweig would visit on occasion.
Zweig gave back to Temple throughout her life, providing funding to DRS and helping to fund the construction of a wheelchair ramp at the Temple Performing Arts Center.
Jeanne Zweig graduated at the top of her class from the Fox School of Business. (Photography courtesy of The Templar, Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University, 1935, p. 118.)
The Jeanne Zweig Endowment Fund will provide scholarships and help pay for accommodations students may need in pursuit of their Temple education, such as assistive technology. The scholarship will also provide additional funding for Temple students to receive support services, including career planning and coaching, from JEVS Human Services (JEVS), a local organization whose mission is to enhance employability, independence and quality of life for individuals, their families and their communities.
“JEVS is thrilled to be a resource for the Jeanne Zweig scholarship recipients at Temple University,” said Heather Keafer, senior vice president, communications and external affairs at JEVS. “One big part of our mission is providing services to individuals with disabilities. From assistive technology to career help and support of independent living, JEVS has many opportunities available to serve individuals with disabilities. We’re excited for this partnership with Temple and the opportunity to support Jeanne Zweig scholars.”
Students can determine their eligibility for the scholarship, as well as for any of the scholarships awarded by DRS, by registering with DRS on their website. In addition to registering for the MyDRS portal, students can visit the DRS website to learn more about the services, scholarships and volunteer opportunities that DRS offers.