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UB President Kurt L. Schmoke honors late brother with scholarship

Ursula V. Battle | 7/25/2014, 6:42 a.m.
Kurt L. Schmoke, who became the new president of the University of Baltimore (UB) in July, recently announced a scholarship ...
University of Baltimore President Kurt L. Schmoke, recently announced the establishment of the Murray Alexander Schmoke Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is named after his late brother. (Courtesy photo)

— Kurt L. Schmoke, who became the new president of the University of Baltimore (UB) in July, recently announced a scholarship fund in honor of his late brother that will benefit Baltimore students enrolled in UB’s College of Public Affairs.

Established with a $25,000 gift from President Schmoke, the Murray Alexander Schmoke Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide annual need-based financial support to a selected UB College of Public Affairs junior or senior undergraduate student who is a graduate of a Baltimore-based public high school.

The younger Schmoke died in a 1994 car accident while volunteering as an English teacher in South Africa. President Schmoke talked about his brother whom he affectionately referred to as “Alex.”

“He really loved Public Affairs and the role of government in improving the quality of life for people,” said Schmoke. “That’s why I wanted this scholarship to be in the College of Public Affairs. When Alex passed away, he was teaching school in South Africa as part of a program to help educate young people.”

He added, “At the time they were on verge of new era in South Africa. He died just a few months before Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president of South Africa.”

Schmoke Jr. graduated from Baltimore City College and Morehouse College before working for T. Rowe Price and then for a Washington, D.C.-based group that raised money for black South African medical students to travel to the United States.

“I recognized as president of UB, that one of the most important things I have to do is to be engaged in a great deal of fundraising,” said President Schmoke.

“I wanted to lead by example. In doing that, I also wanted to establish a scholarship that was really meaningful. I wanted it to be a scholarship that not only honored by brother’s legacy, but also afforded a Baltimore City Public School student an opportunity to advance their education.”

UB is a member of the University System of Maryland (USM) and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.

President Schmoke was appointed as UB’s eighth president on July 7, 2014.

“Serving as President has been exciting,” he said. “There has been a lot of momentum at UB in the last 10 years. I hope to build on that momentum, and also work with other higher education institutions.”

President Schmoke served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1987-1999 and was the Baltimore City State’s Attorney from 1982-1987. Prior to joining UB, he was dean of the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., from 2003-2012. Following that, he was appointed general counsel for Howard and also served as the institution’s interim provost.

“I will make contributions to this fund every year I am president of university,” said President Schmoke. “The hope is that it will be invested and the interest will be used to provide scholarship assistance for many years to come.”

In order qualify for the scholarship, the student must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average to be eligible and must also maintain that GPA or higher for the life of the scholarship. The University of Baltimore Foundation will maintain the scholarship fund. According to President Schmoke, the scholarship will be offered beginning academic year 2015.

“I hope the scholarship helps to nurture future leaders of our community,” he said. “Overall, that will be a great satisfaction and benefit to the entire community.”

For more information about the scholarship, visit: www.ubalt.edu.