Moore College receives largest gift from alumna for scholarship fund

Mike DeNardo
July 23, 2019 - 5:57 pm

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A New York artist is giving her Philadelphia alma mater $5 million. 

The gift from artist and philanthropist Jane Walentas and her husband, developer David Walentas, is the largest single donation in the history of Moore College of Art & Design. 

"This scholarship will be the difference between whether someone can go to college or not. That's how significant it is," said Moore President Cecelia Fitzgibbon.

It will endow scholarships each year for 10 students at the college.

Jane Walentas, a 1966 graduate and a member of the college's board, said for her, it's a way to give back.

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"It's a struggle for art schools to begin with. You know, they don't have endowments like places like Harvard. Typically, art students, or artists, do not have the kind of resources to make any kind of real money," she said. 

It's about $60,000 a year for tuition and housing at Moore. 

The scholarships are only open to students who do not live in Pennsylvania, something Walentas said is by design.

"The majority of the kids really are from the Philadelphia area. If not Philly, then from that part of the country. And I feel strongly that it's healthier for a school to have more diversity in every way but geographic diversity as well."

Walentas said she feels fortunate to be able to help attract emerging artists to Moore.

"This gift supports that strategy.  But of course, we always welcome students from Philadelphia and Pennsylvania to apply.  And the advantage, of course, for Pennsylvania students is that they recieve the PHEAA grant, which is quite significant," Fitzgibbon said.

The first students to receive the Walentas Visionary Woman Scholarships will be chosen from this fall's freshman class.