That donation is the largest gift any HBCU has ever received from a former student. Earlier this week Calvin Tyler and his wife Tina pledged the money, which will fund scholarships that were established under the Tylers’ name in 2002.
@MorganStateU recently announced receipt of a $20 million commitment from philanthropist alumnus Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife Tina Tyler, increasing the endowed scholarship fund previously established in the Tylers’ name. pic.twitter.com/5YbdCnRC3z
— HBCU Awards (@HBCUAwardsShow) March 16, 2021
The gift is the second-largest private donation the Baltimore school has received following a $40M donation in December from Mackenzie Scott, a philanthropist and the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Tyler mentioned that the donation was personal for him as he was raised in a low-income family and was forced to drop out of college in 1963 because he could no longer afford to continue to pay for his studies.
Tyler also says “I didn’t have a scholarship, so I was struggling to pay tuition while working and trying to take care of myself at that time.”
“So I stayed there as long as I could and learned as much as I could, but eventually I had to, unfortunately, dropout and go to work”
The following year Tyler saw a job advertisement in a Baltimore newspaper from the United Parcel Service (UPS). He applied and was hired by the company as a driver. Tyler spent 34-years at UPS and rose through the ranks of the global shipping company.
He reached the pinnacle of his tenure when he became the Senior Vice President of US Operations and a member of the Board of Directors before retiring in 1998.
In 2016, the Tylers made a $5M donation to Morgan State- which at that time was the largest in school history. That bolstered the Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund established in 2002 to provide full-tuition scholarships for select need-based students residing in the Tylers’ hometown of Baltimore.
In light of financial hardships and challenges a number of students and families are facing as a result of the pandemic, the Tylers were compelled to expand their giving to the HBCU. Once exclusive to students from Baltimore only, the endowed scholarship is now in scope and will benefit organizations of future Morgan students seeking a college education.
To date, the endowed fund has supported 222 Morgan students by way of 46 full-tuition and 176 partial-tuition scholarships. That number has come with the promise of benefiting more “Tyler Scholars” with the increased multimillion-dollar pledge and an expanded scope.
Students attending Morgan come from diverse backgrounds, often with unique circumstances, and a myriad of financial needs with 90% of students receiving financial aid.
Students applying for the prestigious “Tyler Scholarship” must meet certain financial criteria while maintaining a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement.
The Tylers want students to graduate college and be able to enter the next stage of their life debt-free of student loans.