Story at a glance

  • Mike Bloomberg gifted $150 million to his alma mater Johns Hopkins University.
  • The university will use the money to institute the Vivien Thomas Scholars.
  • The program will recruit students with bachelor degrees from historically Black colleges and other minority-centered establishments for doctorate programs in the STEM fields.

Mike Bloomberg gifted his alma mater Johns Hopkins University $150 million to expand and diversify the college’s doctorate programs.

At the university, as reported in 2019, domestic doctorate students who were Black or Hispanic consisted of two people in mathematics, four in computer science and five in electrical engineering.

University President Ronald J. Daniels said Johns Hopkins will use the gift to address the “striking and persistent disparity” in its graduate education. 


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The Baltimore-based university will use the money on an initiative recruiting students studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from historically Black colleges and additional minority-rooted establishments for graduate programs. 

“STEM fields play an increasingly important role in developing innovative solutions to a wide range of pressing challenges, yet STEM PhD programs don’t reflect the broad diversity of our country,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “So creating more equitable opportunities for more students is critical to our country’s future in so many ways.”

The initiative, which is to be called the Vivien Thomas Scholars, will open 100 new slots for these students beginning in fall 2022.

The name is in honor of Thomas, who was a Black scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1940s and is known for developing the cardiac surgery technique known as a Blalock-Taussig shunt.

Bloomberg’s gift will be able to fund six years of tuition, a stipend, health insurance and travel for every scholar.

This is the latest gift from Bloomberg to his alma mater, resulting in a total of $3.55 billion cumulatively, a record which no other philanthropist has given to a U.S. university. 

Bloomberg earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins in 1964.


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Published on May 12, 2021