$10M gift to Georgetown bolsters undergraduate scholarships, Office of Mission and Ministry

A $10 million gift from long-time Georgetown University benefactors Nancy and Arthur (C’54) Calcagnini will provide $7.5 million for undergraduate scholarships and $2.5 million for the university’s Office of Mission and Ministry. Georgetown President John J. DeGioia notes that the gift, one of the largest for financial aid in Georgetown’s history, aligns with the university’s top strategic priority—access and affordability—while also supporting its Jesuit and Catholic mission.

Increasing access

Arthur Calcagnini, the retired chair and CEO of Lombard and Co., began giving to Georgetown not long after graduating, and subsequently supported scholarships in the mid-1980s, offering whenever he could to open Georgetown’s doors to students from underserved communities. “I created my first scholarship in memory of my mother so it’s deeply meaningful for me to hear that these funds have enabled dozens of hard-working students to get a Georgetown education since then,” says Arthur Calcagnini.

First-generation college students who receive scholarship funds from the Calcagnini gift also may participate in programs to support their success at Georgetown, including the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP) and the Community Scholars Program. With special advising, mentoring, wellness, and team-building activities, these programs have made national news in recent years as more statistics and studies confirm their impact. The six-year graduation rate for students participating in GSP is 96.4 percent, compared to the national average of 31 percent among first-generation students.

“I know that Georgetown works hard to support scholarship students who choose to attend, and I want to reward that hard work,” adds Arthur Calcagnini. “I am proud of my alma mater’s leadership in this area.”

Enabling reflection and supporting student-athletes

As Georgetown parents and grandparents, Nancy and Arthur Calcagnini also have taken a special interest in the Office of Mission and Ministry, which has grown to be one of the largest and most diverse in the nation. The Calcagninis made a 1991 gift to fully endow the ESCAPE retreats for first-year students and a substantial 2011 gift to build the Calcagnini Contemplative Center on a scenic 55-acre mountain top an hour west from the main campus.

In addition to providing scholarships, the new gift will allow more students to participate in ESCAPE overnight retreats and will enable the Office of Mission and Ministry to hire a full-time chaplain for Georgetown Athletics to support the nearly 600 student-athletes competing in Division 1 sports while engaged in rigorous academic pursuits.

“We are deeply grateful to Arthur and Nancy for their extraordinary contributions to our Georgetown community,” said DeGioia. “Their generosity has strengthened our University in incalculable ways—helping us to bring the very best students to Georgetown and to provide opportunities for members of our community, across faith traditions, to come together in reflection and contemplation.”

Topics in this story

Next Up

What awaits low-income students on elite college campuses?

WAMU’s Joshua Johnson sat down with Georgetown Scholars Program Executive Director Melissa Foy and Harvard University Assistant Professor Anthony Abraham Jack to discuss how colleges can better support low-income, first-generation, and underserved students.

Read