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Two years after Calvin Tyler first enrolled at Morgan State College, he had to drop out because he couldn’t afford it.
He took a job as a UPS driver, one of the first 10 in Baltimore. Now – almost 40 years later – Tyler has made the largest-ever private donation from an alumnus to the historically Black school, now Morgan State University, it announced Tuesday.
Tyler and his wife, Tina, committed $20 million, with the money going to an already-established endowed scholarship fund in their name. The Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund, established in 2002, initially gave full tuition need-based scholarships to students in Baltimore, Tyler’s hometown, and has since been expanded to benefit students from anywhere.
With millions unemployed because of the pandemic, it’s gotten harder for many families to pay for college. And schools are struggling, too, with loss of income from room and board and dropping admissions. Historically Black colleges and universities, which tend to have smaller endowments as a financial buffer, have been hit especially hard.
“My wife and I have become keenly aware of the effect that the pandemic has had on a number of young people trying to get an education (and) we have the resources to help a lot of young people,” Tyler said in a statement. “This is why we are increasing our commitment at Morgan; we want to have more full tuition scholarships offered to young people so that they can graduate from college and enter the next stage of their life debt free.”
In 2016, the couple committed $5 million to the school, then the largest such gift in Morgan State’s history. Their scholarship fund so far has helped more than 200 students attend Morgan State, with 46 receiving full scholarships.
How has a one-time UPS driver accomplished this? After driving for the company, Tyler worked his way up the corporate ladder to senior vice president of operations. He retired in 1998 and joined UPS’s board of directors.
“Morgan is so proud to call this son and daughter of the great City of Baltimore our own, and through their historic giving, the doors of higher education will most certainly be kept open for generations of aspiring leaders whose financial shortfalls may have kept them from realizing their academic dreams,” said the school’s president, David Wilson.