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Distributed December 21, 2005
Contact Mark Nickel

Higher Education after Katrina
$1.1M of Sidney Frank Gift Will Fund ‘Recovery Semester’ Scholarships

With the endorsement of philanthropist Sidney E. Frank, Brown University will use $1.1 million of Frank’s $5-million hurricane relief gift to establish “recovery semester” scholarships next semester through the admission and financial aid offices at Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana, both in New Orleans, and Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. The scholarships will help students resume or continue their studies and will help provide the schools with sufficient numbers of students to begin the return to normal operations.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Businessman and philanthropist Sidney E. Frank has endorsed Brown University’s plan to provide a total of $1.1 million in “recovery semester” scholarships to students at three schools that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The scholarship programs are the largest distribution made to date from a $5-million hurricane relief fund Frank established at Brown in October.

Brown President Ruth J. Simmons announced the Sidney Frank Renewal Scholarships – for Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana, both in New Orleans, and Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. – today and informed the presidents of those schools.

“It would be hard to overstate the difficulties colleges face as they attempt to restart academic operations after such a calamity,” Simmons said. “In many cases, families of students are also recovering from the storm and cannot provide even minimal support for a child at college.

“The Sidney Frank Renewal Scholarships will solve two problems,” Simmons continued. “They will give students the incentive and financial assistance they need to continue their studies, and they will provide colleges with the students they need to begin the long journey back to normal operations.”

For more than a century, historically black colleges and universities – HBCU’s – have produced more black scientists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, linguists, educators and other highly trained professionals than any other institutions in the country. Dillard, Xavier and Tougaloo offered high-quality, affordable education to many students from disadvantaged backgrounds who will need access to those institutions if they are to complete their educations. Dillard, the most heavily damaged of the three, faces rebuilding costs estimated at more than $350 million.

“I know how important education is and how great a difference it can make in an individual’s prospects for life,” said Frank, a member of the Brown Class of 1942. “Continuity is tremendously important. I am very happy to know that more than 300 young people will be able to continue their studies next semester through the Sidney Frank Renewal Scholarships Program.”

Although terms of the scholarships will vary slightly at the three institutions, students could receive up to $5,000 or $5,250 for the winter semester (designated as the “recovery semester”) if they:

  • were enrolled at the institution for the fall 2005 semester;
  • demonstrate commitment to pursue and complete undergraduate degrees in any field offered by the institution in which they are enrolled;
  • are permanent residents of a FEMA-designated county affected by Hurricane Katrina;
  • meet the federally established criteria for financial need or can otherwise document Katrina’s impact on their family income and homes; and
  • can satisfactorily demonstrate, through transcripts or other documents, their academic abilities and accomplishments to the relevant institution’s admissions office.

There will be up to 200 Sidney Frank Scholars at Dillard, 85 at Xavier, and 30 at Tougaloo. An expedited application process will be established for the spring 2006 application, which must be completed by applicants online by Jan. 3, 2006. A limited number of applications may be considered after that date from students who seek spring 2006 enrollment at the temporary Dillard site or at Xavier’s restored campus in New Orleans. Officials from each institution’s admissions and financial aid offices will review applications, select recipients, and report on the use of designated funds. For more information about the scholarships, contact the admissions or financial aid offices at Dillard, Xavier and Tougaloo.

Dillard University

Located in the Gintilly neighborhood of New Orleans, Dillard’s strikingly beautiful historic campus suffered the heaviest damage from wind, flood and fire – more than $350 million according to university estimates. After being forced to lay off roughly half of its faculty and staff, Dillard will reopen in January at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Returning students will be offered two 13-week terms that will allow them to complete the academic year without having lost ground because of Hurricane Katrina.

Dillard is also partnering with a consortium of institutions that includes Tulane University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Loyola University and will use facilities at these sites as needed while the Dillard campus undergoes extensive repairs and renovations.

Xavier University of Louisiana

With the exception of the university’s Living Learning Center and one other dormitory, every building on the Xavier campus had between four and six feet of standing water after Hurricane Katrina passed through. The central plant serving campus buildings was destroyed, roofs were lost, and subsequent mold and mildew made Xavier’s recovery effort a daunting challenge. Now, as Xavier prepares to reopen on campus in January, more than 3,100 of its original 4,000 students have declared their intention to register.

Tougaloo College

Wind and rain from Hurricane Katrina damaged almost every building on the Tougaloo College campus, uprooted a dozen trees, blew out windows and caused a total power outage and complete loss of all communications – but no one was injured. The college was closed until Sept. 6, while work crews, community volunteers, alumni, students and staff worked to get the campus ready for reopening. A special registration was extended through Sept. 16 to accommodate students whose studies had been halted by the storm, many of them from Xavier and Dillard.

Sidney E. Frank

In September 2004, Sidney Frank presented Brown University with a $100-million gift in support of undergraduate financial aid. That gift – the largest single gift in the University’s history and one of the largest U.S. gifts ever made for financial aid – replaces educational loans with additional scholarship money for Brown students with the greatest financial need.

“I know from my own experience what a difference Brown can make in a young person’s life,” Frank said when he made the gift. “I’ve wanted to help more students find what I found – especially students who figured Brown was out of reach financially. Creating this scholarship fund seemed the best way to do that. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

A native of Norwich, Conn., Frank began his studies at Brown University as a member of the Class of 1942. He left for a war-time assignment in Asia, where he represented Pratt & Whitney Motors during World War II.

Upon his return to the United States in 1945, Frank found work with Schenley Distillers, beginning a long and remarkable career in the importation and marketing of distilled spirits. In 1972, he founded Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc., of which he continues as chairman. His reputation and skill as a brand builder led to the American marketing success of Jägermeister Liqueur, Grey Goose Vodka and Gekkeikan Saké.

Active in various professional, cultural, and charitable organizations, Frank is chairman of the board of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation and is a former board member of the Riverdale Country School, where he has established scholarships for scholar-athletes. An avid golfer and art collector, Frank and his wife, Marian, live in New Rochelle, N.Y. Frank has two children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


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