Howard University Receives Largest-Ever Gift of $10M for Diversity in STEM

Howard University has received a very generous $10 million gift from the Karsh Family Foundation, which makes it the largest donation ever accepted at the institution. The donation will endow the highly competitive Bison STEM Scholars Program, which will now be called the Karsh STEM Scholars Program (KSSP). The program, which was founded in 2017, is designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities earning a Ph.D. or combined M.D./Ph.D. in a STEM discipline. 

“We are grateful to Martha and Bruce Karsh for their transformative investment and support of our students and our vision to create a diverse workforce of highly skilled scholars equipped to take on careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA in a written statement. “When we created this program, with the support of the Board of Trustees, we envisioned building a model program to demonstrate how higher education can serve as a pipeline to diversify STEM fields nationally, but we knew it wouldn’t be sustainable without external resources. This gift will ensure that Howard can train the nation’s brightest students who desire to obtain their Ph.D. or combined M.D./Ph.D. for generations to come.”

The Lomax KIPP Scholarships have also been created through the gift from the Karsh Family Foundation. It is a debt-free financial aid program for graduates of KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program, which is a nationwide network of high performing public schools in underserved communities. Lomax KIPP Scholarships are named in honor of Michael L. Lomax, CEO and president of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

“We are excited to endow this visionary program at Howard,” said Martha and Bruce Karsh. “Simply put, we believe education, expertise, and research in STEM fields will define mankind’s future, and we are proud to be able to help Howard attract and support the best and brightest students for its already renowned program.”

Howard University is the No. 1 baccalaureate institution of African American science and engineering doctorate recipients, according to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

The Karsh Family Foundation was founded in 1998 by Bruce A. Karsh, Oaktree Capital Management co-founder and co-chairman, and his wife, Martha L. Karsh, an attorney and designer. The foundation has made gifts and pledges of approximately $250 million to support education and scholarship at all levels.

“Thanks to this generous gift, the Karsh STEM Scholars Program will realize its full potential to cultivate a workforce pipeline of talented students from underrepresented communities who are well equipped to become leaders in the global STEM community,” said KSSP Program Director Ronald Smith.

Each year, two Lomax KIPP Scholarships will be awarded to deserving students. It will cover the gap between financial aid and the cost of attendance, ensuring that the students have full coverage to graduate without debt, in four years. The first recipients will be selected this spring for entry into Howard University in the fall of 2020. The gift also designates on-campus support for all KIPP alumni at the university; currently, 53 KIPP graduates are enrolled at Howard.

Applications are currently being accepted for the fourth cohort of the Karsh STEM Scholars Program at Howard University. The deadline to apply is Jan. 30. For more information, visit the Karsh STEM Scholars Program website: