Leading Together strengthens academic and scientific initiatives, advances learning and enhances facilities. Another key priority is $400 million in new scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. Thus far, the campaign has raised $1.8 billion towards a minimum goal of $2.2 billion.
Mathematician John McCarthy, PhD, the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts & Sciences, considers his donation to Washington University a gift to the students he teaches every day.
“The most gratifying part of being a professor is the interaction with undergraduate and graduate students,” McCarthy said. “It is everything I dreamed about when I was in high school and I wondered what I wanted to do when I grew up. To know that I, in a small way, can make it possible for these students to come here is rewarding.”
McCarthy knows firsthand the financial challenges facing today’s students. McCarthy received scholarships as a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, and as a graduate and undergraduate student at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. For McCarthy, the equation was simple: no support, no degree.
“When I was a graduate student, it was a particularly stressful time because we would not find out until April if we got support for the following year,” McCarthy said.
“A key difference at Washington University is that PhD students are guaranteed five years of support as long as they are making normal progress. Fortunately, other American universities have followed our example. That is a huge weight off your mind when you can focus on your studies and not worry how you are going to feed yourself,” McCarthy said.
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said Washington University is committed to educating talented students independent of their financial circumstances. To that end, Leading Together increased its goal for scholarship dollars from $150 million to $400 million. The university also pledges to increase the number of freshmen from low-income families to 13 percent by 2020.
“We are all dedicated to making a Washington University education accessible and affordable for all of our students,” Wrighton said, “and the Our Washington campaign speaks loudly and boldly about the commitment that so many in our community have to making this a reality.”
Employees may donate to the school, scholarship, program or fund of their choice through a monthly payroll deduction, online or by mail. Bequests and planned gifts also count toward Our Washington. Donors at any level who make a gift by June 30 will receive a Washington University umbrella.