Jack C. Taylor, philanthropist and founder of Enterprise Holdings, recently gave Washington University $25 million for undergraduate scholarships on behalf of the company, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced.
The gift will be added to the existing endowed scholarship fund that was established in 2001 by Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car.
“With this extraordinary gift, which matches its own grant 10 years ago — the largest scholarship gift ever made to Washington University — Enterprise Holdings once again demonstrates its dedication to expanding opportunities for deserving young scholars from throughout our society,” Wrighton says. “The company’s generosity also underscores its commitment to give back to the communities it serves.
“Today’s recipients of Enterprise Holdings’ gift will be tomorrow’s leaders. They will develop new businesses, discover new treatments for diseases, influence our national and global landscape, create important works of art and architecture, improve ways to feed the world, and advance the collective knowledge to make these all possible,” he says.
The gift gives a big boost to a fundraising initiative called Opening Doors to the Future: The Scholarship Initiative for Washington University. The goal is to raise a minimum of $150 million for scholarships by 2014.
The numbers show the impact of the original gift: Since 2001, it has provided financial assistance for nearly 200 students.
But the numbers alone cannot explain the impact of these scholarships on the lives of their recipients. Corey Donahue, Arts & Sciences Class of ’12, is a beneficiary of this valuable scholarship program.
“The Enterprise Holdings Scholarship has helped give me the ability to attend a fantastic university without constantly stressing over my financial security,” Donahue says. “Attending Washington University has been amazing, and without this scholarship I would not have been able to come here and have this incredible academic and social experience.”
Alumna DeAndrea Nichols, BFA ’10, is another example of someone whose Enterprise Holdings Scholarship made all the difference in the world.
“Being an Enterprise Holdings Scholar served as one of the most instrumental components of my undergraduate experience,” Nichols says. “Since I was a student of a single-parent family, the scholarship financially helped alleviate a lot of the stress that my education at Washington University could have potentially held. Because of its support, the Enterprise Holdings Scholars Program allowed me to focus on excellence and serve as a creative leader, scholar and friend amongst my peers.”
Currently, Nichols handles marketing and graphic design for Cultural Festivals, the organization that sponsors the St. Louis Art Fair. She also serves as project adviser and graphic designer for the Greater University Service Foundation, a local nonprofit founded by WUSTL graduates. The foundation provides grants supporting leadership development and service skills to those who have no other access for funding.
“For the past 10 years, we have witnessed the impact that this level of giving has had, not only on deserving and talented students who become Enterprise Holdings Scholars, but also on the university, indeed the world, as our graduates grow into tomorrow’s leaders,” says James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
For aspiring WUSTL students who require financial assistance, the Enterprise Holdings Scholars Program provides a path to their dream. All Enterprise Holdings Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit, leadership skills, character and commitment to community service, and all received financial assistance that made it possible for them to enroll at Washington University.