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June 13, 2022

Bates receives $5M gift to expand financial aid for international students

people gathered outside Courtesy / Matt Hamilton, Bates College Bates College Associate Dean for International Student Programs James Reese addresses students prior to the annual International Dinner on May 2.

Bates College has received a $5 million gift and will use it to fund scholarships for international students at the Lewiston liberal arts school.

The donation came from Jonathan Blair Frank and Tena Fishman Frank, who both graduated from Bates in 1989. Jonathan Blair Frank is a portfolio manager with the Los Angeles office of Capital Group, an institutional investment adviser.

Courtesy / Capital Group
Jonathan Blair Frank

“Through their support, a Bates education will be possible for a greater number of students from around the world, strengthening the educational experience of all Bates students,” Sarah Pearson, vice president for college advancement at Bates, said in a news release.

The funding will assist students coming to Bates through the Davis United World College Scholars Program, the world’s largest international undergraduate scholarship initiative. Bates said the program is dedicated to bringing together “promising students from diverse cultures and supporting their undergraduate educations at selected American colleges and universities … to create greater international understanding among the world’s future decision makers."

Bates is among 99 U.S. colleges and universities that have partnered with the program, which helps provide college access to 3,800 students from 165 nations.

“Spending time with these talented students from around the world, Tena and I are always left in awe,” said Jonathan Blair Frank. “Their personal stories are incredibly diverse, but all speak to their extraordinary eagerness and tenacity to learn.”

Access to financial aid for non-U.S. applicants is challenging in higher education, and the number of highly capable students whose needs go unmet every year is large, he said.

In 2021–22, Bates enrolled 30 UWC Davis Scholars from 24 countries. UWC Davis Scholars who are eligible for need-based financial aid receive a portion of their aid from the Davis program and the balance from Bates College sources, including endowed scholarship funds, now to include the Frank Global Scholarship Awards.

The addition financial aid resource will allow the college to build on its international student enrollment, said Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Leigh Weisenburger. 

“Each year, UWC Scholars at Bates make contributions to our community that belie their relatively small numbers,” Weisenburger said. “They are engaged, intellectually curious, and deeply committed to the principles of cross-cultural understanding, making them highly successful Bates students.”

Bates, which has an enrollment of 1,900, is also nearing the finish line of a five-year, $300 million capital fundraising campaign. The drive is scheduled to end June 30, and last month had already raised $336 million in pledges and gifts.

Bates reported an endowment of $466 million last year, a sum that grew 36% over the 2020 total.

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