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Foundation Funds Scholars Program At Virginia Tech
September 13, 2017

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands has announced a $15 million gift from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, the largest scholarship gift ever made to the university. The gift endows the foundation’s signature A. James Clark Scholars Program, which provides students with a full-tuition scholarship and a holistic approach to engineering education.

The Clark Scholars program will grow from 10 students this school year to 40 students in 2020.

A. James Clark Scholars will pursue rigorous engineering and construction coursework, take at least two business classes, volunteer in community service activities, and participate in enrichment seminars and events with leaders in the field. This fall’s inaugural class of 10 students from the College of Engineering and the Myers-Lawson School of Construction will grow to 40 in-state students by 2020.

The foundation was started by the late A. James Clark, who built Maryland-based Clark Construction Group into one of the nation’s leading construction companies. Among numerous other projects, Clark Construction also built the Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington.

“Mr. Clark never forgot that his dream of becoming an engineer was made possible by a generous scholarship; he otherwise would not have been able to attend college,” said Joe Del Guercio, president and CEO of the foundation. “He believed in eliminating financial barriers so promising students could achieve their full potential. Virginia Tech’s efforts to ensure access and affordability are in keeping with Mr. Clark’s vision. We are proud to partner with Virginia Tech, a leader in engineering and construction education.”

As part of Virginia Tech’s campus-wide initiative to increase access and double enrollment among underrepresented minorities by 2022, the university will provide additional funding to ensure that Clark Scholars attend tuition-free and have their room, board, and fees covered. The Beyond Boundaries Scholars program, championed by President Sands, has a similar aim. It was launched last year, and is supporting more than 130 students this fall.

The first Clark Scholars are:
• Richard Cotman, of Newport News;
• Xueming (Erica) He, of Virginia Beach;
• Nefetari Heath, of Roanoke;
• Clemence Hidalgo, of Newport News;
• Trent Kinney, of Newport News;
• Makenzi Moore, of Midlothian;
• Ricabelle Pagara, of Alexandria;
• Mia Taylor, of Manassas;
• Julio Villarroel, of Falls Church; and
• Ezekiel Volk, of Hampton.

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