Former student Calvin E. Tyler Jr. to gift $20M to Morgan State University

Joined by his wife Tina, the gift is the largest private donation from an alumnus in the school's long history.

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Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife Tina Tyler made history at Morgan State University with their latest financial gift to the Baltimore institution.

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The Historically Black University was founded in 1867 and offers more than 126 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate.  Morgan State University announced on Monday a receipt of a $20 million commitment which increased the endowment at the university in the couple’s name. The gift is the largest private donation from an alumnus in the school’s long history and according to Morgan, believed to be the largest contribution of its kind to any HBCU from an alum.

In 2016, the Tyler’s made a $5 million commitment to Morgan State, then the largest in the school’s history. The funding assisted the Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship which was established in 2002. The scholarship provides full-tuition to students in need. Since founded, the endowment has financially supported 222 Morgan students with 46 full-tuition and 176 partial scholarships.

Calvin E. Tyler Jr. Tina Tyler
Image via Morgan State University

Morgan is so proud to call this son and daughter of the great City of Baltimore our own, and through their historic giving, the doors of higher education will most certainly be kept open for generations of aspiring leaders whose financial shortfalls may have kept them from realizing their academic dreams,” said David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University.

“For public institutions, like Morgan, our charitable alumni are testaments to the legacy we collectively uphold, and the Tylers’ generosity over the years, culminating with this transformative commitment, is a remarkable example of altruism with great purpose. We are forever indebted to the Tylers.”

According to Morgan State, Mr. Tyler was a student at the university in the 1960s. He enrolled in 1961 to study business administration as a first-generation college student. The Baltimore native chose a different path in 1963 due to financial reasonings. He began a career with UPS in 1964 as one of the first 10 UPS drivers in the east-coast city. He worked his way up to become senior vice president of operations before his retirement in 1998.

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“My wife and I have become keenly aware of the effect that the pandemic has had on a number of young people trying to get an education [and] we have the resources to help a lot of young people,” Tyler shared with his alma mater. “This is why we are increasing our commitment at Morgan; we want to have more full-tuition scholarships offered to young people so that they can graduate from college and enter the next stage of their life debt-free.”

He continued, “we’re trying to help young people succeed and this goal is aligned with Morgan’s mission; it’s such a perfect fit. We believe that Morgan State happens to be the best institution to use these resources.”

theGrio reported MSU was one of several HBCUs included as a recipient of a historical financial gift from, MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as she donated more than $1.7 billion to diverse organizations. Bowie State University, Alcorn State University, Clark Atlanta University, and others received at least $40 million, and for many, it became the largest individual donation received all at once.

Calvin and Tina Tyler Hall
Image via Morgan State University

“Endowed scholarships and other gifts have far-reaching implications for any institution, but for a public, urban university like Morgan, with students from a broad spectrum of academic, social and economic backgrounds, the need is especially great,” said Donna Howard, vice president for Institutional Advancement

Students who apply for the Tyler Scholarship must meet established financial criteria and maintain a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5. while enrolled at the university.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Morgan State also received $650,000 in grants to preserve their campuses as part of a new initiative by The National Trust for Historic Preservation. Other HBCUs that received the grant are Benedict College, Jackson State University, Lane College, Philander Smith College, Spelman College, Stillman College, and Tuskegee University.

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