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HUNTER’S GOT TALENT: A $1 Million Gift Helps Find the Best and Brightest

Determined to give Hunter students the access to top-flight scholarships enjoyed by Ivy League students, Harold (Hal) and Ruth Newman ’54 donated $1 million to the College in 2016 to fund a director for the newly established Ruth and Harold Newman Office of Prestigious  Scholarships and Fellowships.

The results have been spectacular: since the arrival of director Dr. Stephen Lassonde, Hunter students have won a record number of academic awards, bookended by the Marshall Scholarship won by Faiza Masood ’17 and the Rhodes Scholarship won by Thamara Jean ’18. Masood and Jean are the first Hunter students ever to win the Marshall and Rhodes, and Matthew Locastro ’17 is the second Hunter student to win a Luce Scholarship.

The Office of Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships is modeled after advising services at elite private universities. Potential academic stars are spotted by faculty, then nurtured, mentored, and given help writing application essays and preparing for interviews.

Mentoring students is very important to Ruth Newman, a member of the Hunter College Foundation Board since 2008. She has worked to expand Hunter’s mentoring program, and she herself mentors a student every academic year, taking her mentee to restaurants, museums, and theatres, all to immerse the student in the world of New York City. She and Hal also fund a postgraduate fellowship in the President’s Office and endowed the Ruth and Harold Newman Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Lassonde has brought a wealth of experience in supporting students from his previous positions as dean of student life at Harvard, deputy dean at Brown and assistant dean at Yale. As Lassonde explains, “The pool of talent at Hunter is very deep and this new office provides resources to focus on identifying that talent.”

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