Franklin & Marshall College Establishes Revolutionary New Educational Program, Thanks to Generous Gift By Alumnus

Franklin & Marshall College has introduced a radical new program that is designed to help students develop the characteristics that are most often associated with success. The program, called the Mehlman Talent Initiative, is funded by Ken Mehlman, who earned his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College in 1988.

Throughout his many years as a successful businessman, Mehlman has found that grit is the number one attribute that all successful people have in common. And he’s not alone in this theory.

An article published in The Muse lists “resilience” as the number one quality that all successful people have in common. Even Business Insider credits “persistence” as a collective trait that the world’s most successful people share.

But how does one teach the qualities of resilience and persistence (commonly referred to as “grit”)? That’s what Mehlman is trying to figure out.

The entire focus of the Mehlman Talent Initiative involves studying the ways in which high-achieving, disadvantaged students have overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges. These challenges range from poverty to disability to illness and even discrimination.

“At a time of increased global competition, accelerating technological evolution, and rapidly shifting business, political, and social environments, resilience and the ability to rebound and reinvent are critical,” Mehlman stated. “Young men and women who have already overcome adversity bring different life experiences and are well positioned for 21st century success, but they need practical tools to flourish. This initiative will support these students and provide a framework for the rest of us to learn from them.”

Daniel R. Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College, couldn’t be more excited about the program. He praised Mr. Mehlman’s dedication to the project, and even likened it to an empowerment program.

“As a Trustee, Ken Mehlman has been deeply involved in our collective decision-making to pursue an expanded financial aid strategy for talented students that has reshaped the College dramatically in the past decade, making an F&M education available to many more first-generation, lower- and middle-income students from all across the country,” Porterfield stated. “With this tremendous gift—half of which is dedicated to financial aid—he further enables the College to cultivate the greatness of high-achieving students so that they will be empowered to achieve big goals in their lives and make disproportionately positive contributions to society. The Mehlman Talent Initiative will continue to make F&M a stronger school and help us create an even stronger community, and we are immensely appreciative of Ken’s support.”