Delaware State University has received a historic $1,050,000 grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation to permanently establish DSU’s Osher Reentry Scholarship Endowment, ensuring that significant scholarships will be annually available to nontraditional students.
The Bernard Osher Foundation’s grant is also the largest scholarship contribution from a private source in the University’s 123-year history. The Osher Reentry Program at DSU is the only such program in the state of Delaware benefiting nontraditional students.
Nontraditional students are defined as being over the age of 25 and either resuming their higher education after an interruption of five years or beginning the steps toward a degree later in life. Osher Reentry Scholars – the scholarship recipients – can be full-time or part-time students and receive tuition scholarships of up to $5,000 each. Recipients may be awarded a scholarship again in subsequent years.
Dr. Harry L. Williams, DSU president, announced the gift at the State Capitol during the April 10 DSU Day at the Legislature. The DSU president said The Bernard Osher Foundation and Delaware State University are in agreement when it comes to prompting adults that degree completion is within their reach.
“As a state institution, it is important for DSU to be a viable option on the undergraduate level not only for young people who just finished high school, but also for adults who never completed their academic journey or who long to begin their journey at an older age,” Dr. Williams said. “DSU has long had a diverse variety of academic offerings that address the professional dreams of nontraditional students. Thanks to the generosity of the Osher Foundation, the University now has a scholarship pathway to help the students fund what they thought could not be possible. It truly is the push so many may just need.”
The Osher Foundation began its relationship with DSU during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years, when it provided grants during each school year for scholarships for nontraditional students. Osher Reentry Scholarships were awarded during those years to adult DSU students from Delaware who demonstrated academic promise and a commitment to complete a degree program.
According to Dr. Mary Bitterman, president of The Bernard Osher Foundation, confidence in DSU’s administration of the first two consecutive grants led to an invitation to apply for an endowment to permanently establish the Osher Reentry Scholarship Program.
“I am delighted that Delaware State University will now have an opportunity to continue supporting an increasing number of nontraditional students in the state of Delaware and the region,” Dr. Bitterman said. “We have been impressed with DSU’s excellent stewardship of the Osher Reentry Scholars program, including the identification of processes that make the matriculation of nontraditional students easier and more productive. We congratulate the leadership of DSU and hold high hopes for the fine Osher Scholars at the University now and those who will follow them in the years to come.”
Redinand Marcos, a junior nursing major at DSU, feels that becoming an Osher Reentry Scholar (2013-2014) means he is not alone in his journey to degree completion at DSU. “There are times I want to give up, but I gather back my strength knowing that someday I can make a difference in somebody’s life being a nurse,” he said. “The scholarship has given me inspiration to continue on to strive hard for my dream.”
Rebecca Sahraoui, a junior biology major, is honored to become an Osher Reentry Scholar (2013-2014). “My ability to come back to school at my age has affected my life positively; the story of how I ended up at Delaware State University is filled with so many challenges that I have overcome. I am very passionate about the opportunities I was given at such a difficult time in my life.”
At present, there are 90 universities and colleges in 50 states participating in this program. The Osher Foundation, founded in 1977, seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts. The Osher Foundation provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, with special attention to reentry students.
DSU is currently accepting applications for 2014-2015 Osher Reentry Scholars. Interested students should contact the Office of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org  or (302) 857-6055.