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Oprah Winfrey Announces $13 Million Gift to Morehouse College for Scholars Fund

ATLANTA, GA – Philanthropist Oprah Winfrey visited Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, on Monday, October 7,  to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program and made a surprise announcement. She donated $13 million to continue the scholarship fund, pushing her total investment to $25 million, which is the largest endowment in the College’s history.

Winfrey made the surprise announcement Monday afternoon, on a day in which she met with 47 Oprah Winfrey Scholars that she welcomed as “sons.” She also attended a special luncheon with Morehouse College faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees, and other dignitaries. An oil portrait was unveiled to honor the philanthropist for her generous support of Morehouse over the years.

Winfrey said she was thrilled that the gift that launched the Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship 30 years ago has touched so many lives. Winfrey said she was especially impressed with the current Oprah Scholars that she met Monday. She pledged to continue to fund the program so it could support the education of future men of Morehouse.

Winfrey said she gave to Morehouse College in 1989 because she believes that the College has a “moral core” and mission to develop servant leaders focused on excellence—something that is similar to the teachings she learned as a child.

“I felt that the very first time I came here,” Winfrey said. “The money was an offering to support that in these young men. I understand that African American men are an endangered species. They are so misunderstood. They are so marginalized.

“Where and when I can lend support to try to change that image, I do,” she stated. “That is what Morehouse is doing. It is saying ‘This is who we really are.’”

Over the last 30 years, the scholarship program has funded the education of almost 600 scholars, giving them opportunities for global experiences that would open their classrooms to the four corners of the world, says Morehouse President David A. Thomas.

“I’m grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her generosity,” said President Thomas, who referred to the philanthropist as “Dr. Winfrey,” throughout the day. (Morehouse was one of the first colleges to honor Winfrey with a doctorate.)

“I am also feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah’s and Robert Smith’s. I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities.”

More than 500 people attended Monday’s tribute to Winfrey at Morehouse College.

About Morehouse College
Morehouse College is the nation’s largest liberal arts institution for men. Founded in 1867, the college enrolls approximately 2,200 students and is the nation’s top producer of black men who go on to receive doctorates. Morehouse is also the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs. Historically, Morehouse has conferred more bachelor’s degrees on black men than any other institution in the world. Prominent alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Morehouse currently has more than 17,000 alumni in 40 states and 14 countries. For more information visit www.morehouse.edu.

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