Change More Lives
SJU men now eligible for scholarships through the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation.
“Somebody you don’t even know believes in you…now that’s an honor,” said Vincent McGee ’15. The Newcombe Scholarship recipient and former chef now works part-time as a cake decorator while pursuing his accounting degree at Saint Joseph’s. The 41-year-old McGee was among the first male adult students who received the Charlotte W. Newcombe Scholarship from the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, which has been providing scholarship assistance to mature female students at Saint Joseph’s University for the past six years.
Established in 2008 with a grant from the Newcombe Foundation, the scholarships are made possible by the vision of Charlotte W. Newcombe, a Philadelphia philanthropist with a strong appreciation for higher education. The Newcombe Foundation has awarded scholarships to select institutions since 1981.
“But Saint Joseph’s is one of several institutions that have chosen, as permitted by our policy, to allow men to be eligible for scholarships as well,” said Newcombe Foundation Executive Director Thomas N. Wilfrid, Ph.D. “We agree that there is also a need for scholarship assistance among mature male students at Saint Joseph’s.”
Scholarship recipients are 25 years or older and have completed at least 60 credits (or one-half) of the coursework necessary for their bachelor’s degree. They are enrolled as first-time bachelor’s degree candidates at SJU’s College of Professional and Liberal Studies (PLS) or Haub Degree Completion program (HDC) for at least six credits, have demonstrated financial need and must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
The Reasons Behind the Generosity
“When a Newcombe Scholarship recipient says to me ‘I would not be able to be here without the scholarship,’ this puts a face, a personality and a life to the anonymous student listed on a scholarship report,” said SJU’s Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Georgette Hamaty.
McGee’s need surfaced as he made the decision to change his major from food marketing to accounting. “That’s when I applied for the scholarship,” he said. “A light went on one day in Finance class when I started to relate everything I had been learning to the real world and I realized I wanted to focus on this particular way of helping businesses do the things they need to do.”
Ahmad Hylick ’15, a business administration major and another of the first male Newcombe Scholarship recipients, has his hands full juggling work and academics. His decision to continue his education at SJU followed what he described as a “long period of drifting, mostly in entry-level retail jobs.” He attempted college after he graduated from high school, but soon realized it wasn’t for him just then. He is a carpenter’s apprentice by day and part-time, year-round student.
“I may go into business for myself some day,” he said. “But initially I want to move to the front office, estimating, overseeing logistics, managing time and efficiency.” Hylick hopes to earn his MBA.
HDC Director Janine Guerra ’04, MBA ’07 works with many adults who return to finish their undergraduate degrees and serves on the Newcombe Foundation Scholarship selection committee. “It’s a difficult task to narrow the field and make the decisions on what can amount to as much as 60 percent of the tuition for a given semester,” she said. “We send a lot of letters and this is one of the happiest ones I can write.”
An Endowment Pledge
The Newcombe award can range from $500 to $2,500 a year. The support makes a difference in helping students beyond the traditional age complete their degree programs on time and with a lower debt load.
Half of the foundation’s grant to SJU is provided immediately as scholarships; the other half is used to build an endowed fund. Both types of support are matched completely by other donors to Saint Joseph’s.
The foundation recently pledged $100,000 over five years for the Saint Joseph’s endowment if the University can match the amount. Robert and Susan Orthey P ’14 made a commitment of $75,000 over five years to support the required match after their son Joseph’s graduation. An anonymous $20,000 donation from a Golden Hawk brought the match that much closer to become a reality.
How Newcombe Scholarship Recipients Make a Difference
Foundation program officer Diane Wilfrid reads more than 500 letters from scholarship recipients each year. “As adult students, they have so many responsibilities and so many ways in which their financial situation is complicated either by having to work or having to support themselves or their families,” she said. “This is a particularly worthy group of students, and we are in absolute amazement at the courage that so many of them have to do this, to go back to school at this time of their lives and sacrifice so much. These women and men become role models for their children and other people who know them.”
McGee hopes to serve as a role model for his son, a high school sophomore. He also hopes to make a difference at Saint Joseph’s. “In class, as someone who hasn’t been to school in 15 years, I sometimes find myself wanting to be as quick and as smart as some of the younger students,” he said. “But I have something to offer, too. I think I’m more insightful and able to answer with more depth and meaning than I would have earlier in life. I always try to offer a takeaway…something that is beneficial.”
– Valerie Asuncion