On Monday, Oct. 7, philanthropist Oprah Winfrey paid a visit to Atlanta’s Morehouse College to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her scholarship program. While there, the talk show host made a surprise announcement: she would donate an additional $13 million to the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program, bringing her total investment to $25 million.
Winfrey said she first began donating to the liberal arts college in 1989 because of the institution’s “moral code” and mission of preparing black men to lead lives of leadership and service.
“I felt that the very first time I came here,” said Winfrey. “The money was an offering to support that in these young men. I understand that African American men are an endangered species. They are so misunderstood. They are so marginalized.
“Where and when I can lend support to try to change that image, I do,” she added. “That is what Morehouse is doing. It is saying ‘This is who we really are.’”
According to Morehouse President David Thomas, Oprah’s scholarship program has funded the education of almost 600 recipients.
“I’m grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her generosity,” said Thomas. “I am also feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah’s and Robert Smith’s. I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities.”
Oprah Scholar Nathan Rolle, a senior who is majoring in International Studies and minoring in Journalism, said it was a privilege to meet the woman who made his education possible.
“Getting to meet Ms. Winfrey for the first time in my life, taking an individual photo with her—not a lot of people in the world can say that,” he said. “I’ve looked up to Mrs. Winfrey my entire life. This day is the highlight of my Morehouse experience.”