Ex-UPS Driver's Gift Is Biggest Alum Donation Ever to HBCU

Calvin Tyler Jr. dropped out of Morgan State University in 1963
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2021 11:23 AM CST
Man Gives $20M to University He Once Couldn't Afford
In this photo, Calvin Tyler Jr. and his wife, Tina, smile after signing a giving pledge for $20 million to his alma mater, Morgan State University, as the university's president, David K. Wilson, looks on at the Tylers' home in Las Vegas on Saturday.   (Paul "PA" Greene/Morgan State University via AP)

If anyone knows what it's like to struggle to pay for college, it's Calvin Tyler Jr. He enrolled at Baltimore's Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) in 1961 to pursue a degree in business administration. A lack of funds forced him to drop out two years later, and he became one of the city's first 10 UPS drivers instead. Nearly 60 years after that college dream was dashed, Tyler, 78, and his wife, Tina Tyler, are making others' dreams come true, courtesy of a $20 million pledge to the school made Tuesday—believed to be the largest private donation ever to a historically Black college or university by an alum, reports CNN. The money will be put into an already established scholarship fund set up in the couple's name that had initially offered scholarships to Baltimore students in need; now, students from anywhere will be eligible.

"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, who has previously donated millions to the school, said, per a release. "This is why we are increasing our commitment at Morgan." He adds, to the New York Times: "Going to college for four years and coming out ... $80,000 to $100,000 in debt puts the person behind. ... I want to provide scholarships for young bright people so that they can ... come out of college debt-free." The Tylers' generosity has already benefitted 222 Morgan State students. As for the source of his wealth, Tyler moved up to a management position just two years after joining UPS, eventually becoming senior VP of operations before he retired in 1998. (More uplifting news stories.)

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