The Annenberg Foundation has donated $10 million to the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the Keck School of Medicine to help fund scholarships for incoming students in both schools.
The Wallis Annenberg Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships of up to $35,000 to incoming Keck students and up to $25,000 to incoming Annenberg students. Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on academic merit and financial need.
Leonard Aube, executive director of the Annenberg Foundation, said Wallis Annenberg chose to make the donation because of the rising cost of higher education.
“Wallis recognizes that across higher education it has become more and more expensive, and it’s been harder and harder for families to gain access,” Aube said. “She felt compelled to want to provide and strengthen the university’s ability to provide financial resources for the students.”
According to Aube, Wallis Annenberg chose to donate to Keck because the cost of attending medical school is significant, and she wanted to ensure that a broad range of students could have access to financial support.
Keck Dean Carmen Puliafito said Keck will use this grant, which is being split evenly between the two schools, as an opportunity for the school to attract the most talented students.
“It’s going to be a tremendous help for our medical students,” Puliafito said. “We will be able to recruit outstanding candidates and give the necessary financial aid.”
Annenberg Dean Ernest Wilson said this money will also allow the Annenberg school to recruit a diverse range of outstanding candidates.
“The money is used entirely for scholarships, and we think that is so important because we want to be able to attract a student body that is economically and culturally diverse,” Wilson said. “The purposes of the grant serves the purposes of the school; the ethics and morals of the gift is to help underprivileged kids learn more about communication and journalism.”
Not only does Wilson see this gift as an opportunity for incoming students but also as recognition of the Annenberg school’s work.
“The donation means that we continue to be recognized by our supporters and stakeholders outside of the school and that we continue to do very important work in the fields of communication and journalism,” he said. “It sends a message to our faculty members, our current students, our graduates and most importantly future Annenberg students.”
Aube said he thinks there is mutual excitement for Wallis Annenberg and the future student beneficiaries of the scholarship.
“Wallis is excited that there is an opportunity here to provide resources, and it’s going to be a tremendous assistance for [students] and their academic career, so I think there is mutual excitement for them on both sides of the equation,” he said.