To promote graduation rates for underrepresented groups in engineering, the E. Eugene Carter Foundation pledged $100,000 to establish scholarships for students at Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering.
The Carter-Ayres Opportunity Scholarships will be used to repay up to $20,000 of a recipient’s subsidized federal student loans upon graduation. Scholarships will be awarded to full-time undergraduate engineering students who have reached at least sophomore status. Priority will be given to students from underrepresented groups in engineering who have demonstrated financial need and are the first in their families to attend college.
“This is a compelling opportunity to shine a light on students who are worthy of investment,” said Lee Ayres, Fresno businessman and community leader for whom the scholarship is partially named. “These are students who have already overcome many challenges and are poised to become a great resource to the region.”
According to the Washington, D.C.-based foundation, Carter-Ayres Opportunity Scholarships are intended to encourage and reward student persistence to degree completion rather than to recognize other aspects of academic achievement, so there is no GPA requirement to qualify.
By repaying the federal loans of students with demonstrated financial need, these scholarships will allow recipients to focus on their undergraduate studies and give them greater financial freedom as they enter careers in engineering. “Lifting the burden of student loan debt is a life changing opportunity that will position our students to excel professionally after graduation,” said Dr. Ram Nunna, dean of the Lyles College.
E. Eugene Carter credits his wife, Rita Rodriguez, for inspiring the gift. A Cuban refugee, Rodriguez has worked as a Harvard professor and director of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an appointment of the President with Senate confirmation. She currently serves as director of several corporations. “We are pleased to help individuals from culturally diverse households pursue careers in engineering so they can bring their talents and unique perspectives to the field.”
Carter said the scholarship is further inspired by his father, a self-taught civil engineer in Kansas.
This gift is part of the university’s Campaign for Fresno State, an initiative to raise $200 million for scholarships, faculty, programs and facilities. As of May 2012 the campaign had raised more than $188.8 million. It is the first comprehensive campaign in the university’s history and among the largest in the CSU system.
For more information, contact Kathleen Schock, the campaign communications director, at 559.278.2756 or email@example.com.