The largest gift in the university's history will be used to boost college access and improve affordability, inspire the next generation of engineering leaders, and spark innovations that address some of today's most daunting problems.
To that end, the investment will fund the Clark Challenge for Maryland Promise, a campus-wide scholarship matching program that hopes to generate $100 million to underwrite aid for students with the greatest financial need. The investment also will be used to expand the Clark Opportunity Transfer Scholarship Program, which supports transfer students from Maryland community colleges looking to pursue an engineering education at UMD; the A. James Clark Scholars Program, a newly launched academic program combining engineering, business, leadership, and community service; and the participation of Clark Scholars in the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges Scholars Program, which enlists students in solving some of engineering's greatest twenty-first century challenges, from sequestering carbon to reverse-engineering the brain.
The funds also will establish eight Clark Distinguished Chairs, faculty positions designed to directly address the most critical research areas set forth by the university's 2020 Strategic Plan for the Clark School, and five Clark Leadership Chairs, the holders of which will conduct cross-cutting research on emerging issues of pressing importance to the global community.
"This investment is historic in scope and transformational in impact, and I do not say this lightly," said UMD president Wallace D. Loh. "Access to higher education is essential, if we are to solve urgent national problems. Creating this path for the most promising students in engineering and other fields may well prove to be Mr. Clark's greatest legacy."