Bair gives to Washington Scholars

By Cassy Sottile

News Editor

BairThis past summer, former Washington College President Sheila Bair donated $20,000 to the Washington Scholars program.

Formerly known as George’s Brigade, the Washington Scholars program provides full tuition, room, and board to high-achieving, high-need students, according to the WC website.

“The Washington Scholars program has been a game-changer in creating a more diverse student body, drawing brilliant, ambitious young people from under-represented socio-economic groups to our community,” President Kurt Landgraf said in a July 19 WC newsletter regarding Bair’s contribution.

The goal of the Washington Scholars program is to help students gain a college education without the burden of student loan debt at graduation. The program works with and supports students socially, emotionally, and academically from their high school graduation through WC commencement, according to the WC website.

During her tenure here, Bair created the scholarship program and has continued to donate to the program after her departure, according to Landgraf.

“[She is] very committed to the Washington Scholars program. When she came in to see us last month, she made another contribution, bringing her donations to over $1 million,” Landgraf said.

Bair has been very generous to WC with her personal funding, according to Landgraf.

“What she has been doing is ensuring that the Washington Scholars program continues on,” Landgraf said.

The program, which was established in 2016, is now in its fourth year of providing academic and financial support to students.

“For donors considering how to support WC, endowed scholarships provide the most enduring benefit,” Bair said in the July 19 newsletter.

The Washington Scholars program helps students such as sophomore Kennett Vail-Rojas get an education.

“[The program] is important because there are a good amount of students that come from less fortunate households that still deserve to get a good education,” Vail-Rojas said.

As college grows more expensive to attend and students struggle to afford their education, programs such as Washington Scholars are even more beneficial to them.

“The opportunity provided by the scholars program makes that dream a reality,” Vail-Rojas said.

Of the class of 2023, 46 students are part of the Washington Scholars program. The first cohort of the program, who matriculated in 2016, is set to graduate in May 2020, according to the July 19 newsletter.

“I hope the program can possibly reach out to more students,” Vail-Rojas said. “Being able to get more students through school makes future careers and alumni that can give back to the school that provided for them. The opportunities it raises could be extremely beneficial to many.”

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