Kevin Jacobs ’94 knows firsthand just how important, how life-changing, financial aid can be.

“My wife (Amanda ’94) and I both received a lot of financial aid in going to Cornell – otherwise, a Cornell education wouldn’t have been possible for either of us,” said Jacobs, a graduate of the newly named Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration and now chief financial officer and president of global development for Hilton Worldwide. “Financial aid certainly provided incredible opportunities for us in our lives.”

That’s why, Jacobs said, the $50 million gift from Peter Nolan ’80, MBA ’82, and Stephanie Nolan ’84 – herself a Hotelie – which established the Nolan School, is so important.

“It’s a wonderful gift,” he said. “Cornell is a need-blind [admissions] school, and the more funds they have available to support a student of any background who has financial need, the more the school can curate the best classes they can to develop the leadership of tomorrow.”

“We want to make sure the Nolan School attracts, prepares and develops the most brilliant minds, regardless of economic background,” said Gilda Perez-Alvarado ’02, a Nolan School graduate who is the global CEO of JLL Hotels & Hospitality. “Gifts like this one make sure that we can even out the playing field and focus on brilliant minds.”

The Nolans’ gift will support financial aid and expand educational access in the Nolan School. A one-to-three match of $16 million – by challenge funds from H. Fisk Johnson ’79, M.Eng. ’80, M.S. ’82, MBA ’84, Ph.D. ’86, and the SC Johnson company – will support financial aid for students in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Read more from alumni about the significance of this gift. Written by Tom Fleischman for the Cornell Chronicle.

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