MSU receives largest individual donation from billionaire MacKenzie Scott

The billionaire and ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gifted Morgan $40 million.


Photo courtesy of Morgan State University

President David Wilson and VP of Institutional Advancement Donna Howard participate in ceremonial signing of gift agreement.

Jordan D. Brown, Features Editor

Like many college students, Jordin Walters depends on academic scholarships and financial aid to assist the cost of her college tuition. Although her grants cover a majority of her tuition, many students like Walters are still left struggling financially to pay for their education.

The newest $40 million donation from billionaire MacKenzie Scott will benefit thousands of students like Walters in the Morgan State University community.

“I think the $40 million donation would not only relieve me of a financial burden, but it would also help to get resources that could further my education,” the sophomore biology major said,

This is the largest private donation in Morgan history, according to a university press release. The historic gift and second largest donation to any public Maryland university will fund the university’s newly established “Leading the World Endowment Fund.”

A majority of Morgan’s students are attending school with some form of financial aid assistance ranging from institutional scholarships, grants, student loans, and more. With the help of Scott’s donation, more financial aid and scholarship money can be distributed among students at Morgan.

As Scott’s gift doubles the university’s total endowment, the donation will go towards Morgan’s strategic plan to advance students’ success, improve academic programs, and invest in future priorities for faculty and students.

“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures. I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgement of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come,” Morgan President David Wilson said in the press release.

With the coronavirus pandemic and remote learning, thousands of Morgan students have been negatively impacted this year, but many are hopeful for future change and appreciative of Scott’s donation. Jennifer Mugerwa, a sophomore sociology major, believes the donation will help push Morgan towards the future the university is aspiring to reach.

“I definitely feel like this donation will help grow the future of Morgan State because unfortunately the pandemic has caused a lot of hardships not only on families, but especially universities just because they make money of housing and everything and that’s a big chunk that we’re losing,” Mugerwa said. “I think it would be a great way to continue growing the future of Morgan.”

In addition to Morgan, Scott has donated a total of $4 billion within four months to a multitude of organizations and historically Black colleges and universities including Bowie State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University, Delaware State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and others.

After her divorce from billionaire Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, Scott signed the Giving Pledge in 2019, promising to donate a majority of her wealth. She penned a post on Medium this Tuesday about her donations to 384 organizations this year and why she was compelled to give back during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Though I’m far from completing my pledge, this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hit hardest by the pandemic. Witnessing the determination, creativity, and compassion of people in a crisis has been inspiring,” Scott said in the post.