As Kenyon looks to its third century, a new $25 million matching grant will be a powerful catalyst for bringing more exceptional students from all backgrounds to the Hill.
Kenyon is one of five schools selected to partner with the Schuler Education Foundation to increase access to highly selective liberal arts colleges for exceptional students with limited resources and those who are ineligible for government aid.
Every dollar given to the Kenyon Access Initiative between now and June 2026 will be matched 1:1 and used to create permanent new scholarship funds to enroll these students. When the $25 million goal is met, the endowed scholarships will create permanent pathways to Kenyon for approximately 50 students across all four classes each year.
President Sean Decatur said the grant comes at an ideal time for Kenyon. “This partnership moves us closer to our goal of enrolling the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances, which we see as crucial to the future of Kenyon. It also provides an unprecedented opportunity to broaden our robust support of these students through the flagship programs Kenyon already has in place,” he said. “This is an outstanding opportunity for anyone who cares about Kenyon and increasing access to all who would excel here.”
Kenyon has long prioritized diversity and access programs. In fact, it is the College’s success in recruiting, retaining and graduating these students that drew the Schuler Education Foundation to select Kenyon. “We were looking for partners who showed commitment to serving underrepresented students, but perhaps couldn’t serve as many as they’d like due to financial constraints,” said Jason Patenaude, the foundation’s executive director.
“There’s tremendous benefit to colleges adding more underrepresented students to their campus and communities. These students bring experiences and insights that represented students often haven’t experienced, and that perspective makes a real difference in how every member of the community experiences college,” he said.
Kenyon has several programs, including Camp 4 and the Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program (KEEP), aimed at supporting and empowering underrepresented students before and during college, as well as student support funds through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, that can be used for additional expenses related to attending Kenyon.
Diane Anci, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, hailed the initiative. “Each year, we have no choice but turn away outstanding students because Kenyon cannot meet their full financial need,” she said. “This match opportunity represents the chance to make a great leap forward. I have confidence that it will make Kenyon even more desirable to students of all backgrounds leading to a more diverse and inclusive community.”
The Kenyon Access Initiative aligns within the $205 million goal for scholarships and professorships within the ongoing Our Path Forward to the Bicentennial campaign, which concludes in June 2024. As of September 13, more than $102 million has been given to this priority.
Vice President for Advancement Colleen Garland noted that one of the goals of the Schuler Foundation in creating this partnership was to assist in energizing the partner schools’ donor base. “We are thrilled to add such a powerful new message in our conversations with alumni and parents to join in this effort. The opportunity to match gifts at all levels — from $10 to $1 million — means that every person who cares about Kenyon has a chance to be part of this.”
The newly released strategic plan affirms Kenyon’s commitment to building equitable, just, diverse and inclusive communities and close connections among faculty, staff and students. Increasing funding for scholarships has been a critical piece of these efforts, due to the relatively small size of Kenyon’s endowment. Both the campaign, and Access Initiative within it, seek to inspire alumni to be part of addressing this need.
Jim Finn ’70, a member of the campaign leadership committee and Board of Trustees, and his wife, were among the first donors to the initiative. “Susan and I are delighted to support the Kenyon Access Initiative. This opportunity fits so well with Kenyon's existing diversity, equity and inclusion goals, as well as our own desires to support those efforts in a meaningful way. The Schuler Foundation's very generous funds match is simply too good to pass up.”
As designed by the Schuler Foundation, there is an additional incentive to achieve the $25 million match goal in five years: a bonus of 10%, $2.5 million, that will also be added to the endowed scholarship fund, for a total of more than $50 million. Learn more here.