Nearly 60 years ago, Calvin E. Tyler Jr. dropped out of college because he couldn't afford it. This week, the same school Tyler once attended announced he had donated $20 million to increase a scholarship fund established in his name.
Tyler enrolled at what was then Morgan State College, a historically Black college in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1961, according to a press release from the school. But he left in 1963 due to lack of funding, and became a UPS driver.
He started out as one of the first 10 UPS drivers in Baltimore, and worked his way up at the company — eventually becoming senior vice president of operations before his retirement in 1998, according to Morgan State. He also joined the board of directors, but never forgot where he started, the school said.
Tyler and his wife Tina are now committed to helping others who are struggling financially to finish college. The couple started the Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2002 and in 2016, Tyler donated $5 million to the school — at the time, the largest donation in its history.
The fund has awarded 46 full-tuition and 176 partial scholarships to 222 Morgan State University students, according to the release. However, with the pandemic inflicting financial hardships on even more families, Tyler decided to up his giving, donating $20 million, believed to be the biggest amount the school has received from an alum.
"My wife and I have become keenly aware of the effect that the pandemic has had on a number of young people trying to get an education [and] we have the resources to help a lot of young people," Tyler said, according to the release. "This is why we are increasing our commitment at Morgan; we want to have more full tuition scholarships offered to young people so that they can graduate from college and enter the next stage of their life debt free."
David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University said through the Tylers' "historic giving, the doors of higher education will most certainly be kept open for generations of aspiring leaders whose financial shortfalls may have kept them from realizing their academic dreams."
Ninety percent of Morgan students receive financial aid, according to the school. Those applying for the Tyler Scholarship must meet certain criteria, such as a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.
The Tylers' impact on the school goes far beyond the scholarship fund – it is cemented in a recently constructed student services building, Tyler Hall.
"We're trying to help young people succeed and this goal is aligned with Morgan's mission; it's such a perfect fit," said Tyler. "We believe that Morgan State happens to be the best institution to use these resources."