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Northeastern University was founded in 1896 on one premise: that higher education — and the opportunities it affords — should be accessible to everyone. This is the Northeastern Edmond "Ted" English '76, now president and CEO of TJX Companies, Inc., knew when he attended in the 1970s.
"I grew up in Milton. When I went to Northeastern, most of us paid for our education ourselves, through co-op and through the jobs we worked. That doesn't happen today," he says. Now, English is ensuring that Northeastern's tradition of access continues by funding a scholarship to benefit promising inner-city students.
The English Scholars Program, part of the Torch Scholarship program, provides full tuition for students of potential from select inner-city high schools. Support from English, and like-minded Torch Scholarship donors, will fund $25,000 for one student annually for five years, with the university supplying the remaining $15,000 per year for room and board.
Torch Scholars will also benefit from a special summer bridge program as well as ongoing academic and social support to make certain they succeed in college.
English Scholars are selected from the Noonan Business Academy (NBA), a specialty school within Dorchester High School. The academy is named for English's friend and mentor, the late Edward Noonan, with who English worked at his Filene's Basement co-op.
"I serve on the advisory committee at the Noonan Business Academy. Establishing this scholarship made perfect sense for me," says English. "I could help Noonan students, support the university I was already committed to in a more significant way, and further Northeastern's inner-city outreach."
English made his gift in two parts, one for current-use scholarship aid and another to create an endowment to fund the English Scholars in perpetuity.
The first English Scholar is Kristian Bryant '10, NBA '05. "I'm enjoying Northeastern so much," Bryant says. "The campus is beautiful, and I love my teachers. I'm learning a lot."
In addition to carrying a full course load, Bryant averages 25 hours a week at her job as a residential counselor at the Home for Little Wanderers in Boston. "I support myself, so I try and work as much as I can," she says.
When she learned she'd be the inaugural English Scholar, Bryant recalls, "I was overjoyed. Northeastern was my first choice, but I had no way to pay for it. Getting this scholarship was a blessing."
Though Bryant met English while she was in high school, she hasn't spoken with him since she's been at Northeastern. "When I do see him, I'm going to show him my grades," she says. "I'm doing really well. I'd like to show him."
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