After the Board of Trustees awarded University of Oregon President Michael Schill a one-time performance bonus at last month’s board meeting, Schill announced that he intended to donate the $76,000 to create a new scholarship for first-generation students.
As part of the president’s contract extension and pay raise, the Board awarded Schill the bonus for the “outstanding work performed during his first three years as president,” according to a Board document.
According to the president’s comments, the scholarship will be reserved for “a deserving first-generation student.” Schill himself was a first-generation college student, meaning neither of his parents went to college before him.
The scholarship will be in memory of his mother, Ruth Schill, who died almost two years ago.
“I was fortunate to have my mother’s support, encouragement, confidence, and love which convinced me that I could go toe-to-toe with anyone at Princeton,” said Schill’s written comments about deciding to go to college. “I can think of no better way to honor her memory than to establish a need-based scholarship.”
About a quarter of UO’s 2017 freshman class was made up of first-generation college students, according to a report from Student Services and Enrollment Management.
PathwayOregon, a scholarship for in-state students that covers tuition and fees for academically strong students with low incomes, will oversee the scholarship.
56 percent of recipients who receive scholarships from PathwayOregon, which is celebrating its tenth and largest year this year, are first-generation college students, according to the program’s tenth year announcement.
While there’s no university department or individual in charge of supporting first-generation college students specifically, there are several programs that offer academic and personal support if these students face challenges.
TRiO Student Support Services is a college retention program that provides academic advising and support, financial assistance and dedicated study spaces for students who are first-generation students or come from low-income families.
The Intercultural Mentoring Program Advancing Community Ties (IMPACT) provides peer-to-peer mentoring by pairing first-year students with older students from similar backgrounds.
“IMPACT is a program designed to help first-generation college students and students from underrepresented communities succeed and graduate from the UO,” said DJ Kelly-Quattrocchi, the program’s supervisor, in an email.
President Schill’s new scholarship, which has yet to be formally named, will be awarded to one student annually beginning in fall of 2019, according to UO Spokesman Tobin Klinger.