Howard Community College in Columbia announced the largest private donation in school history Friday, a $2 million gift from the Kahlert Foundation to support STEM scholarships, tuition assistance and a variety of other campus programs.
“We are incredibly grateful for this very generous gift from the Kahlert Foundation,” said HCC President Daria Willis in a news release. “Working together, our partnership will continue to move students along their educational pathway, continue to strengthen our community and continue to provide students opportunities for success.”
According to the college, which enrolled 13,911 students in fiscal 2021, part of the gift will go toward tuition assistance for its new Early College access program, which allows high school students to earn college credits before graduation, as well as for students in the Career Links program, which supports single parents and displaced homemakers as they pursue an education. Displaced homemaker is an official federal designation for a stay-at-home mother or father who is unemployed or underemployed and who is no longer financially supported by their spouse.
Additional funding will reinforce STEM scholarships, the on-campus food pantry and the college’s engineering program.
Including this most recent donation, since 2014 the Kahlert Foundation has given $3.4 million to the Howard Community College Educational Foundation, a nonprofit supporting scholarships and various programs at the school.
Established in 1991 by local businessman Bill Kahlert, the organization is one of the largest private foundations in Maryland and gives grants in focus areas of health care, education, youth programs, veteran organizations and human services.
In honor of the donation, HCC plans to name its future mathematics and athletics building the Kahlert Foundation Complex. It is expected to open for classes in spring 2025.
The community celebrated the foundation’s gift at the final men’s and women’s basketball games at the college’s old gym on Dec. 10. The building will soon be demolished to make way for the new complex.
Kahlert’s son Greg, who now serves as the president of the foundation, addressed the crowd and explained that his daughter attended HCC before pursuing a business degree at the University of Utah.
“To this day, she says the best education she ever got was at HCC,” he announced to cheers.