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UC Merced Receives $1 Million Grant to Support Underrepresented STEM Students

June 14, 2023
A student studies an equation on a whiteboard.
Money from the Cooke Foundation will be used for scholarships and an endowment.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has established a new scholarship endowment to ensure that many of UC Merced's underrepresented students, particularly those from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, have access to much-needed financial resources to support them during their higher-education journeys.

Funding from the Cooke Foundation's grant totaling $1 million, including $500,000 in scholarship support for the 2023-24 academic year and $500,000 to be invested in the permanent endowment, will directly assist undergraduates pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. By alleviating some of the financial burden associated with attending college, the Cooke Foundation's scholarship support enables award recipients to focus on their challenging and rigorous coursework, increasing the chances they will successfully complete their degrees and, ultimately, contribute to the diversification of the scientific, technological and engineering professional fields.

"We are grateful for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's abiding commitment to ensuring that promising students confronting financial hardship have the resources to pursue their higher-education goals," said Vice Chancellor and Chief External Relations Officer E. Edward Klotzbier. "The achievements of the unique and motivated students supported by these scholarships will benefit not only our community, but the world as a whole, and UC Merced is appreciative to the Cooke Foundation for helping ensure these young people fulfill their great promise."

"UC Merced is a model for our nation. The school has resolved to ensure that all students - especially students from underrepresented backgrounds - are set up to succeed from day one in rigorous STEM classes," said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Seppy Basili. "In advancement of our mission to help exceptional students reach their fullest potential, we are honored to support the work of this important institution."

The Cooke Foundation's grant is among the pivotal philanthropic gifts that are advancing Boldly Forward, the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in UC Merced's history. Boldly Forward aims to raise $200 million over the next decade, with gifts and pledges received during the campaign's launch quickly approaching $86.9 million.