Advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need

Thirty Undergraduates, Half from Community Colleges, Named Jack Kent Cooke Scholars



LANSDOWNE, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today announced the names of 30 undergraduate college students who have been selected to receive up to $30,000 in aid for the 2003-2004 academic year.

The students, half of whom presently attend community colleges, come from 17 states and several foreign countries. The effort represents the largest private initiative in U.S. history to support and encourage students at two-year, community colleges to advance to four-year colleges and universities.

The award provides funding for tuition, room and board, fees and books. Award amounts vary for each recipient based on the institution he or she attends.

“These outstanding young people have shown us their potential for creativity and hard work,” said Dr. Matthew J. Quinn, executive director of the Foundation. “Their selection was the result of an intensely competitive process and is a tribute to their ability and promise as future scientists, teachers, doctors, artists and members of the business community.”

The 30 men and women selected (see attached list) now brings to 109 the number of undergraduate students who have been recipients of the Foundation’s Undergraduate Scholarship Program since it began in 2002. The 30 awardees were selected from a pool of 1,150 nominees.

“Community college students are often overlooked when dollars for assistance are handed out, and often these students are the most in need,” said Dr. Quinn, a former college president. “Community colleges do an excellent job of preparing students for the next academic level and our goal is to help those who need a financial boost and reward them for a job well done.”

“With the rapidly increasing numbers of students of all ages who seek a pathway to success via community colleges, scholarships such as the Jack Kent Cooke program are a critical lifeline to learning – and to brighter futures,” said Dr. George R. Boggs, President, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). “In addition to its very generous funding, the distinctiveness of this program is that it not only puts deserving students on that pathway, but it also encourages them to continue that exciting journey toward educational excellence.”

According to the most recent AACC statistics, enrollment at community colleges continues to increase. In addition, almost 45 percent of all college students in the United States attend community college.

The 15 community college students will be transferring to colleges as diverse as Emory University, the University of Virginia, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Michigan Tech, Stanford and Morehouse College in Georgia.

Likewise, the 15 students already attending a four-year institution are being recognized for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom. As Dr. Quinn noted, “few scholarship programs are available to upperclassmen . . . we want to make sure these students get the same chance for financial aid as college freshmen receive.”

“We’re proud of this group of young people. We’re proud that Mr. Cooke’s legacy of fostering education lives on through these scholarship winners. We’ll continue laying the groundwork for continued academic and personal excellence through this program for years to come,” Dr. Quinn said.

Those scholarship awardees are juniors and seniors at Tuskegee, Georgetown, University of Wisconsin, Tulane and several other renowned universities throughout the United States.

Included in this year’s scholarship winners are students who have exhibited extraordinary leadership and brilliance. For example:

  • Donald Washington, Jr., will be transferring to Morehouse College in Atlanta from Montgomery College (Rockville, MD). Donald, who is Editor-in-Chief of The Advocate, the campus newspaper, is also a member of the international honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. Donald has done this despite the fact that he resides in a homeless shelter. When he received notice of the scholarship, he stated: “It’s been hard, living in a shelter, trying to keep my grades up, wondering if any institution would recognize that I deserve to be there.”
  • Magni Hamso, a native of Maryland, and an honor student at Yale University. She volunteers with a homeless advocacy group in New Haven. Last year, when a homeless shelter was closed, displacing several homeless men, she helped set up a “Tent City” on the city green as a protest to provide the men a place to sleep. She hopes to become a physician.
  • Luckson Hove, currently from Virginia. Luckson grew up homeless in Zimbabwe. He came to America, and currently attends Piedmont Virginia Community College and maintains a 3.9 average in accounting. Luckson, who has a wife and son, will transfer to the University of Virginia. After graduation, he would like to establish a rehabilitation center to house homeless children and children orphaned from their parents who had died of AIDS. Luckson said receiving the scholarship “will change my life.”
  • Jasmina Tumbas, a student at Maryville College in Tennessee, fled Serbia to Germany with her family in 1988 under very trying circumstances. While in Germany, she worked at a refugee camp. In her spare time, she tutors teenage mothers in GED classes.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, based in Lansdowne, VA, is a private, independent foundation, established by Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation has become one of the nation's most prominent and generous scholarship providers. Its goal is to identify idealistic, intelligent and involved students and help them carry out their dreams to build a better world.


Charles E. Avila, Drexel University
Tiffany R. Brown, Palomar College
Rocky D. Chavez, Dominican University of California
Alonit Cohen, American University
Benjamin J. Cote, Georgetown University
Marissa K. Courey, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sara E. Drum, Georgia Perimeter College
Claudia F. Echevarria, Wilbur Wright College
Alexander V. Flyax, Tulane University
Claudia J. Gagnon, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Kaelen I. Green, Mills College
Autumn L. Greenberg, Middlesex Community Technical College
Magni Hamso, Yale University
Luckson Hove, Piedmont Virginia Community College
Aaron N. Jessup, Feather River College
Timothy E. Kile, St. John’s College
Philip D. Kneeland, Itasca Community College
Juliane U. Maximo, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Harun Mehmedinovic, University of California-Los Angeles
Carine Nadem, Montgomery College-Germantown
Katelyn Y. Niu, Community College of Baltimore County
Lynne-Marie Sanders, Community College of Philadelphia
Samata Singhi, Albion College
Laura N. Sutherland, Muhlenberg College
Peter N. Tascio, Westchester Community College
Traci R. Travis, Orange Coast College
Jasmina Tumbas, Maryville College
Diana L. Upton-Hill, Indian Hills Community College-Ottumwa
Donald W. Washington, Jr., Montgomery College-Rockville
Graig A. Williams, Tuskegee University






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