Some of the world’s best and brightest students aim their sights at an undergraduate education at Penn, but many lack the resources to embark on this journey. Penn graduates Jon Gray, C’92, W’92, and Mindy Basser Gray, C’92, are stepping in to help.
This month, the University of Pennsylvania announced a $10 million gift from the couple, which will support undergraduate financial aid and the Penn First Plus program for students who are low-income or the first in their families to attend college—the latter being a group that is particularly close to heart for Mindy Gray, who, herself, was a first-generation student.
The Grays’ gift will support 10-15 students accepted to any of Penn’s undergraduate schools (Penn Arts & Sciences, Penn Nursing, Penn Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Wharton School of Business). Eligible students, who will hail from New York City and qualify for the highest level of financial aid, will receive full funding for tuition and expenses throughout their four years at Penn. The gift represents stability and peace of mind for these talented students, allowing them to focus their energy on academic success instead of financial concerns.
The Grays are exemplary University of Pennsylvania leaders whose generosity is producing tremendous results. They are propelling Penn’s undergraduate scholarship program forward with a significant new gift that will alter the trajectory of generations of Penn students, starting with this year’s class. It is a true privilege to know this inspiring couple and to work with them on maximizing opportunities for our amazingly talented first generation, low-income students.”PENN PRESIDENT AMY GUTMANN
The gift goes beyond scholarship support, recognizing that many activities common to undergraduate experiences—such as studying abroad or participating in summer internships—are beyond reach for some students. Ten percent of the gift will fund the creation of an Opportunities Fund, which will provide access to these and other extracurricular activities for highly aided students.
The Gray’s generosity makes an immediate impact, as the first cohort of scholarship students has already been selected. These 12 pupils bring diverse ambitions to Penn—with academic interests ranging from chemical and biomolecular engineering, to psychology and criminology, and beyond.
“I never take for granted how Penn opened the doors of higher learning for me,” said Mindy Gray. “These are smart, hard-working students who deserve the same.”
The founding cohort of students shared their gratitude in person with Jon and Mindy when the couple visited campus earlier this month. The students spoke about what they hope to achieve during their time at Penn and how they plan to make a difference in the world after graduation. Penn President Amy Gutmann was on hand to congratulate the students for earning this distinction, extending her personal gratitude to the Grays for their ongoing support for the University.
The couple’s dedication to Penn has manifested in many ways since their graduation. In 2012, the Grays founded the Basser Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, the first comprehensive center for the research, treatment, and prevention of BRCA-related cancers. In just seven years, this center has raised approximately $100 million for collaborative research, education, and outreach programs around the world.
With this latest gift, Jon and Mindy Gray have made a critical investment in comprehensive student financial aid at Penn. Their support encapsulates the spirit of The Power of Penn Campaign and its commitment to inclusion.