Rider University announced it received a $1 million gift on Wednesday to establish a need-based scholarship for black and Latino students who are the first generation in their families to attend college.
Recognizing that national college completion rates vary widely along racial and ethnic lines, the Joan C. Mazzotti and Michael C. Kelly Endowed Scholarship will support the college aspirations of African American, black and Latino students attending Rider.
Haverford, Pa. residents Joan Mazzotti, class of 1972, and Michael Kelly, said they hope their scholarship helps to relieve some of the financial pressures of college for its recipients, helping to close the gap in access to higher education.
“I graduated from Rider in 1972 with a degree in political science,” Mazzotti said in a statement. “I attended Rider at a time when there was significant unrest on college campuses and throughout the country. The four years I spent at Rider shaped the values that have guided me throughout my life.”
Mazzotti became even more committed to themes of economic inequality and access to higher education when, in 2000, she became the executive director of Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income, first generation college students to achieve postsecondary success.