WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Westfield State University received a donation of an estimated value of over $3.5 million from Paul W. Dower that aims to help scholarship students who struggle financially.
According to a news release sent to 22News, the gift will support the following two restricted funds:
- $1 million to endow the Last Mile Fund which helps students in need who are at that critical “last mile” on their path to graduation.
- $1 million to establish the Paul W. Dower Live Strong Scholarship Fund which will reward high-achieving Westfield State students with an annual $10,000 scholarship for four years which is a first for the University.
According to the release the donation is the largest private donation in the University’s 181-year history.
“Westfield State University thanks the late Mr. Dower for this monumental gift aimed toward student success, his long-standing relationship with Westfield State led him to appreciate the value and impact his generosity had on students in need. Mr. Dower’s transformational gift will help aspiring scholars for generations to come,” Roy H. Saigo, Ph.D., interim president of Westfield State said.
Maria Perez a Holyoke Public Schools teacher, benefitted from the Last Mile Fund as a Westfield State student.
“As a first-generation student, receiving this financial support was critical to finishing my degree, my Westfield State education helped me to land a position in a dual-language program in the same school system I attended, where I help underprivileged families and give back to my community,” Perez said.
Paul Dower was a long-time supporter of the University and was inspired to give back to the Last Mile Fund, he wanted to help students from financially challenged backgrounds to pursue their college degree.
The first Paul W. Dower Live Strong Scholarships will be awarded to students starting their Westfield State University education next fall.