Initiating Kenyon Access

Alumni and parents combine to help create new scholarships for low-income students.

Kenyon’s alumni and parents are responding enthusiastically to a unique opportunity to bring more talented students to the Hill, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.

In just the first seven months of the five-year Kenyon Access Initiative, more than $15 million in commitments have been made. A $25 million matching grant from the Schuler Education Foundation means that these gifts will be matched 1:1 and used to create more permanent pathways to Kenyon for low-income students. The first students to receive the new scholarship funds are being enrolled now for fall, with 8 to 10 students to be directly supported by these gifts this year alone. 

President Sean Decatur raved about the impressive results. “I continue to believe the Kenyon Access Initiative is the most important work that I’ve been part of at Kenyon. I’m amazed by its impact for higher education overall and for the classroom experience, which we know is enriched by a broader array of experiences and backgrounds.”

Kathy Flynn ’77 was among those alumni who responded to the initiative. After majoring in philosophy she went onto a career in the corporate world and has now turned her attention to making an impact in part through philanthropy. “I have continued and am continuing my desire to make a difference in the world and especially in the social injustices that we have in this country. It’s not always easy to know how to do that,” she said. “But I think educating those who would not have the opportunity to do something like get a Kenyon education is very important.”

1,113 donors have joined in, making gifts to the initiative at many levels, from the double digits to multi-millions. It has proved a powerful message for alumni who haven’t been regular donors to the College. “This kind of collective giving is so heartening and fulfilling to see,” said Molly Gutridge ’99, director of annual giving. “And it’s exactly the kind of giving that we know is critical to sustain Kenyon in the future.”

Deborah Ratner Salzberg P’09, a member of the Board of Trustees, along with her husband, Michael, also responded to the initiative. “We are so grateful to Kenyon for the education it gives its students — and to Sean for his leadership. We are the grandchildren of immigrants who were lucky enough to enter this country legally. How lucky are we to be asked to give to an initiative that will help other immigrants find the power and promise of a Kenyon education?”

Jason Patenaude, executive director and COO of Schuler Education Foundation, lauded the response. “We’re thrilled to see the commitment Kenyon alumni have shown toward creating more opportunities for underrepresented, Pell-eligible and undocumented students to receive a strong Kenyon education. Their efforts at engaging young alumni, in particular, reinforce our belief that alumni support initiatives that are meaningful to them.”

Learn more about the Kenyon Access Initiative.

schuler match: 25million plus 25 illion =50 million.

About Schuler Education Foundation

The Schuler Education Foundation seeks to further the success of individuals and communities by investing in high-achieving underrepresented students and top-tier liberal arts colleges. Kenyon is one of a handful of schools that has been invited to partner in this initiative.