A man who dropped out of college because he couldn’t afford tuition costs and became a UPS driver has pledged $20m in scholarships to his former university nearly 60 years on.
Calvin Tyler was the first in his family to go to college when he enrolled at Morgan State University, a historically Black college, in Baltimore, Maryland in 1961, but had to leave two years later due to lack of funding.
He worked his way up at UPS from a driver to become senior vice-president of US operations and a board member before retiring in 1998.
The gift, from Calvin and his wife Tina, is the largest ever private donation to the university from a former student.
They started the Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund at the university in 2002 to pay for full-tuition scholarships for students in Baltimore. In 2016 they pledged $5m, which was then the largest gift of its kind to the university.
But following the pandemic, they decided to quadruple their pledge and expand it to students from across the US.
Tyler said: “My wife and I have become keenly aware of the effect that the pandemic has had on a number of young people trying to get an education and we have the resources to help a lot of young people.
“This is why we are increasing our commitment at Morgan. We want to have more full tuition scholarships offered to young people so that they can graduate from college and enter the next stage of their life debt free.”
The university said that 90% of its students receive financial aid. So far, the Tylers’ fund has supported 222 students through 46 full-tuition and 176 partial scholarships.
David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, said the donation will help “generations of aspiring leaders whose financial shortfalls may have kept them from realizing their academic dreams.”
He added: “The Tylers’ generosity over the years, culminating with this transformative commitment, is a remarkable example of altruism with great purpose. We are forever indebted to the Tylers.”