Osher Foundation Endows Nontraditional Student Scholarships with $1 Million Commitment

Posted: May 24, 2010 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: May 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

By Corey Jenkins Schaut

The Bernard Osher Foundation,
a long-time supporter of George Mason University, has committed $1 million to endow a minimum of 10 scholarships.

The awards will go to re-entry students who are returning to college after an absence.

The Osher Foundation first partnered with Mason in 2004 to support the Learning in Retirement Institute, now known as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which provides continuing educational enrichment for adults.

The foundation has funded a network of 119 similar institutes at colleges and universities across the United States. Gifts from Osher to support the institute at Mason have exceeded more than $1.2 million.

The foundation had previously provided four $50,000 grants for re-entry scholarships. The last of the four grants will be awarded for the 2010-11 academic year.

The endowed scholarships funded under this new gift will be awarded beginning in the 2011-12 academic year.

“The Osher Re-entry Scholarship Program is one of the most important initiatives of the foundation,” notes Mary Bitterman, president of The Bernard Osher Foundation.

“We are delighted that George Mason University has proven to be such a solid partner in assisting nontraditional students to complete their degrees and realize their dreams.”

Of the 19,702 undergraduate students enrolled at Mason during the 2009-10 academic year, 13.1 percent were 25 to 30 years old and 10.5 percent were over the age of 30.

“Re-entry students often have a lot of responsibilities to juggle between work and family life,” says Marc Broderick, vice president for the Office of University Development and Alumni Affairs at Mason.

“Gifts such as the one from the Osher Foundation are critical to easing these students’ burdens and ensuring they are successful in their academic careers.”

The Bernard Osher Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader. The foundation seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education, lifelong learning, the arts and integrative medicine.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu