Impacts Of A $125 Million Donation

In the wake of President Pamela A. Eibeck’s announcement of the $125 million gift from the Powells, students are beginning to ask questions. It is likely that some confusion arises when a donation of this magnitude is made to a university.

Well, as expected, the answer is not all that simple. President Eibeck stated that this gift will transform Pacific forever. How exactly the gift will do so is the part that requires some investigation.

Before the passing of Mr. Robert Powell in 2007, the Sacramento-area couple contributed a great amount to the university. The Jeanette Powell Art Center has been home to the Reynolds Art Gallery and several classrooms since 2000. Both Robert and Jeanette Powell had a passion for the arts as well as a commitment to excellence.

Thus, a portion of the gift will be used to endow scholarships for students and improve academic programs, especially in the arts. However, a large part of the donation will go towards attracting investors through a matching program. Anyone who invests in Pacific’s endowment in the future will likely see his or her donations matched by the Powell gift. This will utilize the $125 million to the fullest and provide Pacific with lasting benefits.

How exactly will this affect students? Some of the gift will go toward the already existing Powell Scholar Program, a program that offers accepted students a $15,000 scholarship annually.

Over 40 students, called Powell Scholars, currently take part in it. After the president’s announcement, one of these talented individuals, Sara Wong ‘14, told her valiant tale of how she came to grow an appreciation for the world through her studies. She plans to teach English to impoverished communities when she graduates.

The program has helped countless students achieve their goals over the years. Katie Teague ‘15, a Powell Scholar currently studying the environmental sciences, says the program has made her “dream of studying abroad a more attainable goal by providing some funding.” Teague described “the sense of community between Powell Scholars” as being one of her favorite aspects of the program.
The Powell’s gift will serve to improve and expand the Powell Scholar Program. As a direct result of the gift, endowment is expected to increase by 50 percent—providing talented people access to Pacific by expanding the scholarship base and encouraging academic excellence. Pacific is so appreciative of the gift that this year, Robert and Jeanette Powell were awarded the Order of Pacific, one of the most prestigious awards given by the university.

John Donovan, a trustee for the Pacific Family Trust, extended his gratitude toward the Powells. “Were they here with us today, the Powells, would be especially proud to see their legacy being used directly to help students get a start in their lives and careers.”

In addition to the expansion of the Powell Scholar Program, at least $90 million will be allocated for scholarships. This could result in a direct benefit to those who currently attend Pacific and struggle to pay tuition as well as to those who dream of attending Pacific, but find their dreams crushed by financial burden.

The exact effects of the Powell donation cannot be determined. Only time will tell how truly transformed Pacific will become, yet judging by the patterns of success we have seen, we are in fact headed in the right direction.

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Jamil Burns

Opinion Editor at The Pacifican

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