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Gallaudet University and Rotary District 7620, which covers central Maryland and Washington, D.C., has announced it has reached a scholarship endowment milestone of $500,000.

Since the founding of the Rotary District 7620 scholarship fund in 1974, it has supported more than 275 Gallaudet undergraduate and graduate students.

At a recent annual luncheon celebrating “Gallaudet Rotary Day,” held on the Gallaudet campus in Northeast Washington, D.C., District Governor Bill Fine presented Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz with a check for $10,000 as he made the surprise announcement about reaching the $500,000 endowment milestone. The money was deposited directly into the endowment and was part of the club’s overall fundraising effort to achieve the $500,000 goal. Fine credited the Potomac, College Park, and Beltsville Clubs as being instrumental in the final push to reach the goal.

This year, the endowment will support scholarships for 13 current Gallaudet students by helping pay for tuition. Scholarship recipients must meet certain criteria to receive the scholarships including financial need, a high-grade point average, and evidence of community involvement and leadership.

“The members of Rotary District 7620 are to be commended for their long-standing support of Gallaudet students,” said Hurwitz. “Especially now with students having to make tough decisions about how to pay for their higher education, the generosity of the members of District 7620 is much appreciated by the Gallaudet community.”

“Because of Gallaudet’s international student enrollment, diverse academic programs, and exceptional extracurricular opportunities, I realized how well suited a Rotary partnership would become,” said current Scholarship Committee Chair Pat Kasuda (Catonsville Rotary Club), of her first visit to the University 13 years ago.

Former District Governor Roland Cumberland (Upper Marlboro Rotary Club) initiated the endowment and former Rotarian Henry Tate (Potomac Rotary Club) was the founding chairman of the Rotary District 7620 Endowment Scholarship Program for Gallaudet University. In addition to overseeing the development of the scholarship program, Tate led the district in funding an educational center in the University. He served as chair of the scholarship program for 34 years.

“The scholarship endowment for Gallaudet University is one of the Club District’s most cherished partnerships,” said Fine. “The Rotary District 7620’s legacy of service to its communities is evident in our partnership with Gallaudet and the benefits we can provide to its students is truly inspiring.”

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.

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