IU announces gift to support scholarships for students with a passion for civic engagement

  • May 16, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Bloomington Office of Student Life and Learning has announced a substantial gift from alumnus Scott D. MacDonald to establish the MacDonald Scholars Program within the Division of Student Affairs.

Students named MacDonald Scholars will engage in 280 hours of community service of their choosing, maintain set academic standards and communicate regularly with an approved faculty or staff mentor.

“We could not be more grateful to Scott for his commitment to creating opportunities for student success at Indiana University,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “While the MacDonald Scholars Program will help us attract the best and brightest students to IU, it will also support them in pursuing their passions for civic engagement and active volunteerism.

"Indiana University is not only a place of learning; it is a community filled with opportunities to give back. The MacDonald Scholars Program will undoubtedly enrich the experiences of our students and grant them the resources they need to share their time and talents for the betterment of our community.”

Administered by the Office of Student Life and Learning, the MacDonald Scholars Program will serve the growth and learning potential of its recipients. MacDonald Scholars will be encouraged to interact with other civically minded students, such as residents of the Civic Leaders Living Learning Center Program, Hoosier Service Leaders and Cox Scholars.

“Gifts like Scott’s will enrich and transform the lives of students who want to make the world a better place, both locally and globally, through volunteerism and community service,” IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel said, noting the connection of the MacDonald Scholars Program to the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for IU Bloomington.

The strategic plan calls on undergraduate students to engage deeply in learning through a variety of experiences, including those that help to develop social responsibility and leadership through service activities that benefit local, state, regional and global communities. 

“The MacDonald Scholarship will significantly reduce the financial burdens for our most highly engaged students, providing them with increased opportunities to explore local and global issues through connections with community organizations, faculty members and other students dedicated to improving the world,” Robel said.

The MacDonald Scholars Program will become a key part of IU Bloomington’s Global Corps, a strategic planning effort that will help to deeply involve students in life-changing community engagement experiences, both here and abroad.

MacDonald, who built a successful career in real estate, is the former chairman and CEO of Australia-based Investa Property Group. Previously, he served as CEO or president of several U.S.-based property companies. He attended IU Bloomington, earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1970. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, the Blue Key Honor Society and the IU Student Foundation. 

While attending IU, MacDonald worked his way through school to pay his own tuition. The memory of eking by on a modest student budget fueled his desire to give back to students experiencing the same circumstances. 

“My hope is to help IU students who want to better the world but may not have the resources to do so while also paying tuition,” MacDonald said. “I want to enable students to seek out and complete volunteer and service opportunities that will enrich their lives and those of others -- both now and into the future.

"Deserving students should have the financial freedom to be creative and innovative in making a difference in the world while earning their degrees. I’m excited to see what they achieve.”

MacDonald Scholarships will be awarded to students showing financial need with a demonstrated interest in civic engagement or volunteerism, and a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale during the school year in which the scholarship is awarded.

Qualifying for the university’s For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign endowed scholarship match, the MacDonald Scholars Program will include 14 inaugural scholarship recipients and confer a total of $265,000 in scholarship funds in its first four years alone.

MacDonald Scholars is a scholarship program developed by Scott D. MacDonald to assist university students who qualify for financial aid and agree to help others. This “pay-it-forward” scholarship concept is described more fully on the MacDonald Scholars website

This gift counts toward the $2.5 billion For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign, which is taking place on all IU-administered campuses: IU Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast. The campaign will conclude in December 2019 to coincide with IU’s bicentennial year celebration in 2020. More about the campaign, its impact and how to participate are available on the For All website.

Founded in 1936, the IU Foundation maximizes private support for Indiana University by fostering lifelong relationships with key stakeholders and providing advancement leadership and fundraising services for campuses and units across the university. Today, the IU Foundation oversees one of the largest public university endowments in the country, with a market value in excess of $1.9 billion. In fiscal year 2015, IU received $359.3 million in support from the private sector. IU is consistently ranked among the top four of Big Ten universities in annual voluntary support.

Scott MacDonald

Scott MacDonald

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