McDaniel meets challenge grant to institute France-Merrick Scholars Program

December 05, 2011

McDaniel College has met a half-million dollar France-Merrick Foundation challenge grant to fund scholarships for financially deserving students from Baltimore City.

The France-Merrick Foundation awarded the college a $500,000 challenge grant to institute the France-Merrick Scholars Program, which gives preference to students who expect to earn a teaching certification in elementary or secondary education. McDaniel is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and offers minors in elementary, secondary, and Pre-K-12 education.

A number of individual, corporate and foundation contributions have met the France-Merrick Foundation challenge, including two recent gifts totaling $62,000, which have enabled McDaniel to meet the challenge two years prior to the deadline.

The first France-Merrick scholars are expected to begin their studies at McDaniel in fall 2012. Additional criteria for awarding the scholarships are yet to be determined.

According to Dr. Roger Casey, president of McDaniel College, “This initiative supports one of the college’s top priorities – keeping a McDaniel education accessible and affordable for all deserving students. With 90 percent of our first-year students receiving merit and/or need-based financial aid, and 40 percent of our current freshman class among the first generation in their families to attend college, programs like the France-Merrick Scholars will only help us continue to attract the best and brightest students regardless of their financial circumstances.”

Florence Hines, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions, added, “This year, we had a record number of applicants, with an unprecedented number of students of color seeking admission to the college. This is due in part to the partnerships we have forged with community-based organizations, such as Baltimore’s CollegeBound and Cristo Ray Jesuit High School. These programs provide awareness and the opportunity for students to consider an institution like McDaniel.”

In addition to the France-Merrick Scholars program, financial assistance to students from Baltimore City is provided through the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. Received by McDaniel in 2009, this $200,000 gift over five years has been awarded to five students from Baltimore City each year with $8,000 scholarships to the college. The third group of five students are freshmen at McDaniel this fall. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has been supporting the college since 1988 and provided funding in 2006 to establish McDaniel’s Center for Study of Aging.

McDaniel was initially awarded the challenge grant from the France-Merrick Foundation in May 2008 as part of the college’s Carpe Diem Campaign. Spearheaded by former McDaniel president Joan Develin Coley, the campaign, which ended December 2009, raised $77 million to support the college’s residential learning-living community.

The France-Merrick Foundation supports civic and cultural activities, public education, private higher education, historic preservation and conservation, and health and social services. Since 1963, France-Merrick has awarded the college more than a million dollars, primarily for academic building projects, including Eaton Hall of Science dedicated in 1999.