Columbia University

Posted on July 1, 2011

Celebrating 30 Years of Newcombe Scholars

Columbia University School of General Studies celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its partnership with the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation Scholarship Program for Mature Students at a reception on April 5, 2011. More than thirty alumnae- and current student-scholars joined Foundation representatives and Columbia administrators at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library to commemorate the successful realization of the Foundation’s mission.

Newcombe Scholars
Some of GS’s Newcombe Scholars who attended the celebration.

Over the past thirty years, the Newcombe Foundation has provided more than $800,000 to full- or part-time students at the School of General Studies to support their undergraduate studies. Elsa Puerto-Rubin ’86, is among those recipients.

“Twenty-two years ago I came to this country with my then six-year-old daughter, and like many immigrants, I was filled with dreams of a better life. It was the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, however, that allowed me to realize my dreams, and by investing in people like me, I’m now deeply motivated to give back to my community,” Puerto-Rubin said. Newcombe Foundation scholarships have not only allowed GS students to complete their undergraduate degrees, but they also helped launch scholars into successful careers at Fortune 500 companies, in nonprofit organizations and as small business owners, as well as helped to prepare them for graduate and professional degrees at top-tier and Ivy League universities. Columbia GS Newcombe alumnae are leaders in their fields and they work as teachers, psychologists, sustainability consultants, bankers, and as professionals in many other fields.

Peter J. Awn, Dean of Columbia School of General Studies
Peter J. Awn, Dean of Columbia School of General Studies addresses the group of Newcombe Scholars, GS staff and representatives from the Foundation.

The invitation to the April event inspired responses from those who attended as well as those who could not, detailing memories of their time at GS, their accomplishments post-graduation, and the impact of receiving a Newcombe Scholarship. Some notable comments from Newcombe Scholars:

  • “Receiving the Newcombe Scholarship inspired and motivated me to believe in myself through knowing that others believe in me.”
  • “Being awarded the Newcombe Scholarship enabled me to complete my degree during a time when my family was going through hardship.”
  • “The Newcombe Scholarship was an important contributor to my ability to afford tuition. As an older student, this resource was one of the few available to me and I am grateful for each year that I was awarded the scholarship. I received my diploma in 2006 after many long years of study. It is one of my most prized possessions. I will always be grateful.”

Tom Wilfrid
Tom Wilfrid speaks about the mission of the Foundation and its partnership with Columbia School of General Studies in assisting mature women to complete their degrees.

Speakers included former GS student and Newcombe Scholar Carol Richmond Tsang ’88 and current Newcombe Scholar Andrea Lujan ’11. Each shared compelling stories of their personal journeys and accomplishments, crediting GS for offering opportunity and support.

Peter J. Awn, Dean of the School of General Studies, expressed his gratitude for the commitment made by the Foundation.

“The thirtieth anniversary celebration inspired a renewed appreciation of the difference that the Newcombe Foundation scholarships have made in the lives of these women. It’s been fascinating to hear about their successes and we look forward to continuing to partner with the Newcombe Foundation in support of Mature Students seeking an outstanding education for years to come,” Awn said.

Janet Fearon
Janet Fearon, founding Executive Director of the Foundation, speaks with a Newcombe Scholar.

Tom Wilfrid, Executive Director of the Newcombe Foundation, added that the Foundation’s Trustees were delighted that their thirty-year partnership with the School of General Studies was still vital, and were hopeful that students will benefit from that partnership for many years into the future.