Stevens gets $15M endowment to fund engineering scholarships

Stevens Institute of Technology has received the largest endowed scholarship gift in its history, a $15 million donation that will fund the A. James Clark Scholars Program, the Hoboken university announced Wednesday.

The gift from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation will provide financial support and learning opportunities for underrepresented, undergraduate engineering students, the university said in a news release.

Clark, who died in 2015, and Stevens President Nariman Farvardin share ties to the University of Maryland, which Clark attended and where Farvardin worked for 27 years in the faculty and administration prior to joining Stevens in 2011.

Clark had previously established the Nariman Farvardin Endowed Chair in Civil Engineering at Stevens with a $2 million endowment gift, while Farvardin had served as Maryland’s dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering from 2000 to 2007, before a promotion to university provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“Mr. Clark was an inspiration, a mentor and a friend to me,” Farvardin said in a prepared statement. “And I am profoundly honored that this program — a symbol of his legacy — will benefit current and future generations of deserving and talented Stevens engineers.”

The A. James Clark Scholars Program is the Clark foundation’s signature academic initiative, Stevens said, combining engineering, business, leadership and community service education. Clark was an engineer and philanthropist who led the Maryland-based Clark Construction Group LLC.

“Through the Clark Scholars Program at Stevens, we will create an environment that we hope will produce many more graduates who will make their mark on the world and who possess the rare combination of attributes that Mr. Clark embodied,” Farvardin said, “remarkable leadership skills, unquestionable integrity, business acumen, engineering prowess and a selfless dedication to humanitarianism.”

The first cohort of about 10 Clark Scholars is expected to enroll in fall 2018, Stevens said. Courses will include engineering as well as business or finance, plus community service, seminars, mentorship opportunities and more.

Scholars will be selected annually based on financial need, academic achievement and community involvement. The program will focus on students from underrepresented backgrounds, including first-generation college students.

“We are proud to establish the Clark Scholars Program at Stevens Institute of Technology,” Joe Del Guercio, CEO and president of the Clark foundation, said in a statement. “Mr. Clark believed in the power of education and investing in hard-working students with a drive to succeed. The Clark Scholars program helps to eliminate financial barriers to that promising young students can receive the education and training to achieve their full potential and become tomorrow’s engineering leaders.”