Black and Gold: The Colors of Student Success

College life can be hectic; for Sam Wilson ’11, it’s a downright race to the finish.

Between running laps for the UMBC track team and managing a 17-credit course load, the last thing the junior geography and environmental systems major wants to think about is how he’d ever squeeze a part-time job into his already packed schedule.

That’s why he feels especially fortunate to be a Black and Gold Scholar at UMBC.

“I’d be trying to just get through college as opposed to doing very well,” says Wilson, who scores As and Bs in most of his classes. “I think it’s really generous of the alumni who donate.”

Funded by the UMBC Annual Fund, the Black and Gold Scholarship Fund provides students with a four-year, $2,500-a-year scholarship based on academic merit and financial need.

That money helps students avoid the burden of low-wage part-time work and, like in Wilson’s case, stay focused on athletics, academics and campus life. Currently, seven students receive the scholarship.

Black and Gold donor Tom Mazerski ’75, economics, supports the scholarship program because he believes it creates opportunities for students who may otherwise not have access to a first-class UMBC education.

“It’s tough, especially if you are in a situation where funding is hard to get a hold of. If you have access to funds, no matter how big or small they are, every little bit helps,” he says. “(The students are) very appreciative.”

Wilson certainly is. At a school that fits him well academically, the generous donations of benefactors like Mazerski and the attention from student-oriented professors make success not only an option, but a requirement. “It really motivates me to succeed, here and in my future jobs,” he says. “I just feel like someone really wants me to do well.”

To support the Black and Gold Scholarship Fund, click here.

Originally published Fall 2009

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