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Man who dropped out of historically Black college donates $20M for scholarship fund

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Posted at 12:33 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 12:34:16-05

Nearly 60 years after leaving Morgan State University due to lack of money, a man is donating $20 million to help make sure others attending the historically Black college won’t have to drop out for the same reasons.

The university announced Monday that Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife, Tina, would be increasing an endowed scholarship fund that was previously established in the couple’s name.

MSU says the “monumental gift” is the largest private donation from an alumnus in the university’s history and they believe it’s the largest contribution of its kind to any historically black college or university (HBCU) from an alum.

According to MSU, Tyler enrolled at the school in 1961 to study business administration, but he dropped out in 1963 due to lack of funding. Eventually, he took a job as one of the first UPS drivers in Baltimore.

At UPS, MSU says Tyler worked his way up, climbed the corporate ladder and ultimately ended up as senior vice president of operations before his retirement in 1998. He then joined the company’s board of directors.

MSU says Tyler never lost sight of his humble beginnings and committed to support others who encounter hardships and financial insecurities while pursuing a college degree.

The Tylers originally donated $5 million to the school in 2016, bolstering the Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund established in 2002 to provide full tuition scholarships for select need-based students residing in the Tylers’ hometown of Baltimore.

Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic makes it even more difficult for students to earn an education, MSU says the Tylers were compelled to expand their giving. So, their endowed scholarship is now national in scope and will benefit generations of future Morgan students seeking a college education.

“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,” Tyler said in a press release. “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.”

Tyler doesn’t believe students should have to rely on government loans and go into debt to get an education.

“Debt can be extremely crippling to someone trying to get ahead in life [and] we just want to help as many young people as we can [to] get an education,” he said.

Students applying for the Tyler Scholarship must meet certain financial criteria and maintain a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.