Morgan State University announced on Wednesday the largest individual donation in its history — $5 million from retired UPS executive Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife Tina to endow a scholarship fund.
The scholarships will be targeted at incoming freshmen from Baltimore who have at least a 2.5 grade point average in high school who show signs of grit and promise, Morgan president David Wilson said. The announcement was made from the Tylers' home in Las Vegas.
Wilson called the donation a "game changer" for the students who struggle to afford staying in school.
"I have received hundreds of emails from students wanting to come to Morgan or even to stay in school while they were enrolled at Morgan, but they simply did not have the money," Wilson said. "What Calvin and Tina Tyler are doing is removing the financial barrier that stands in the way of so many young people in Baltimore in getting a college degree."
The Tylers have made several smaller donations of $500,000 or $1 million at a time to endow scholarships at Morgan since 2002. Their gift Wednesday is one of the largest individual donations to any historically black college in history, Morgan officials said.
The scholarships will be renewable for all four years of college. It will fund 10 full-time scholarships per year initially, but Wilson said they hoped the endowment would grow to fund more students in the future.
Calvin Tyler is a West Baltimore native who attended Morgan in the 1960s before dropping out because he lacked the money to continue. He went on to climb the ranks at UPS and became senior vice president of operations before retiring in 1998.
The Tylers did not want to target the scholarships only at the "students who were only 4.0s" but wanted to make the money available "to students who have the great potential to succeed in college," Wilson said.
Calvin Tyler said he and his wife came from "humble beginnings" and now wanted to give back.
"We can relate to a lot of young people who are bright and talented, but because their families lack the resources may not be able to get a college education," Tyler said. "We really believe education is the key to people getting ahead."