Now Reading
$23 million gift from Suzanne & Walter Scott expands scholarships
Dark Light

$23 million gift from Suzanne & Walter Scott expands scholarships

A $23 million gift from the Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation aims to grow scholarship programs for Omaha students in the University of Nebraska system.

The bulk, $20 million, will allow more students into the competitive Scott Scholars Program based at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and launched by the philanthropists in 1997.

Class sizes in the UNO-based program will expand from 32 students to 42 in each of the next five years.

Participants, who must be Nebraska residents and carry a high school GPA of at least 3.5 and an ACT score of at least 30, receive the Regents Scholarship through UNO to cover tuition. The Scott Scholars program covers other costs including books and room and board. Students stay in a living-learning community.

Harnoor Dhaliwal, associate executive director of the program, said community connections that students build — through internships at local companies, professional development opportunities and research — are key to retaining them in Nebraska after graduation.

According to a media release, an estimated 600 Scott scholars have graduated and about 80% chose to stay in Nebraska. The reported average annual salary for 2023 graduates of the program was $78,000.

Half the students in the most recent class expressed interest in health sciences, which was an impetus for expanding the Scott Scholars to UNMC.

The remaining $3 million in the Scott pledge is to allow for a second cohort of Scott Scholars at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where an inaugural class of 12 began their first year of medical school in the fall of 2023.

UNMC provides in-state tuition, and the Scott scholarship covers room and board and a stipend to fund professional and research opportunities. Scholars come from around the country and stay in an apartment complex near the UNMC campus.

Walter Scott Jr., was chair emeritus and former CEO of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. and former chair of the board of Level 3 Communications Inc. had served as a director of the Omaha Zoological Society, Joslyn Art Museum and the Salvation Army.

Calvin Sisson, president and CEO of the Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation, said the scholarship enhancements align with the Scotts’ interest in education and developing leaders and communities.

The gifts were made through the NU Foundation as part of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future. The campaign aims to engage at least 150,000 benefactors to give $3 billion to support NU students, faculty, programs, and research that address the state’s needs.

Scholarships are a priority, focusing on areas including health care, engineering and information technology.

© 2024 Lifestyles Magazine International. All Rights Reserved.