Retired UPS senior executive Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife, Tina, nationally known philanthropists, announced a $5 million gift to Morgan State University for an endowed scholarship fund established in their name at MSU. The fund provides need-based scholarships that cover full tuition for select Morgan students who reside in Baltimore City, the Tylers’ hometown.
The couple’s contribution is the largest individual donation in the school’s history, and is believed to be the fifth largest from an individual to any historically black college.
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“This incredibly generous donation from the Tylers will provide many talented, hardworking students with a higher education they may not otherwise have achieved,” said Morgan President David Wilson. “But more than that, it will help ensure the success of Morgan’s mission and benefit the youth of Baltimore City, at this particularly challenging time and far into the future.”
Calvin Tyler was the first person in his family to attend college when he entered Morgan to study business administration in 1961. But he had to interrupt his higher education in 1963 because he lacked the funds to continue. He took a job as one of the first 10 drivers at UPS in Baltimore in 1964, during the company’s early days. Two years later, he became a UPS manager and, with much hard work and sacrifice—his own and his family’s—he climbed the corporate ladder, joining the company’s board of directors and becoming senior vice president of operations, the position from which he retired in 1998.
“I think anyone who has had any success in life and has the ability to reach back and help others, this is the time for them to do it,” Tyler said. “There are two major things I want to achieve [with the endowed scholarship fund]: Number one, to see as many of our young people graduate with a degree as possible…. The second thing that my wife and I are concerned about, and that’s why we’re providing 10 full-tuition scholarships each year, is that we want more students to get a college degree and graduate debt-free.”
The Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 with a $500,000 donation. Another $500,000 followed in 2005, and a gift of $1 million was announced in 2008. The recent gift of $3 million is “…a vote of confidence in Morgan State University and Dr. Wilson and his staff,” Calvin Tyler said. “[Dr. Wilson] comes from a very humble background, and he can relate to young people who are academically qualified but just don’t have the resources to get a college education. I think he has a real understanding of the plight of those young people.”
Cheryl Y. Hitchcock, Morgan’s vice president for Institutional Advancement, pointed out that 90% of the university’s students receive financial aid.
“The Tylers’ gifts have been exceedingly helpful in our mission to bring in all students who qualify academically,” Hitchcock said. “Morgan’s alumni, as a whole, have been increasingly supportive of the university over the past six years, boosting our institution’s alumni giving rate to a percentage far above the national average. We hope this latest donation from the Tylers will inspire even greater giving.”
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. Its student body is multiracial and multi-ethnic.