A gift from Mark DeAngelis ’91, MPA ’92 and Carmen Molinos ’94 will establish three endowed undergraduate scholarship funds intended to support first-generation students in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, the College of Human Ecology, and the ILR School. Their gift will also establish an endowed graduate scholarship fund to support Brooks MPA students and include a long-term commitment to each unit’s annual fund.
By relieving some of the financial burdens carried by students and their families, Carmen and Mark hope they are “freeing up those students’ mindshare to focus on learning, growing, and determining how they plan to make the world a better place.”
The Brooks undergraduate scholarship is the first one for the school, which was founded in 2021. “We are enormously grateful to Mark and Carmen for gifts made all the more special because they are historic and foundational,” says Colleen Barry, dean of the Brooks School. “By providing the first endowed scholarship for Brooks School undergraduates and by supporting MPA graduate students and the Brooks School annual fund, Mark and Carmen are helping students, no matter their resources, receive a transformational policy education at Cornell.”
The scholarships align with the donors’ goal of helping Cornell attract the most talented prospective students from both the United States and abroad. “We know that with the rising cost of tuition and other expenses associated with attending highly selective universities, Cornell’s ability to offer competitive scholarships to high-quality prospective students will be a key part of its continued success,” Mark says.
Additionally, Cornell’s founding principle of “… any person … any study” was a big draw for Carmen, who was the first person in her family to attend college. “Being first-generation from Spain, I was drawn to Cornell’s inclusive founding mantra, but also know the financial and other challenges that attending university presented for my family.” She explains, “Mark and I are therefore passionate about Cornell’s ability to attract high-quality, first-generation students by providing the scholarship support to address financial needs and allow those talented first-generation students to choose Cornell free of those financial concerns.”
Carmen and Mark have been actively involved with Cornell since leaving the Hill. Mark currently serves as chair of the College of Human Ecology’s advisory council and has held various volunteer roles, including Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network chair, Cornell University Council two-term member, and inaugural chair of the MPA program’s advisory council. More recently, Mark was named a founding member of the Cornell Brooks School advisory council.
Carmen has also served Cornell in many ways―as part of Morgan Stanley’s Cornell undergraduate recruiting program, she’s helped dozens of Cornell students secure summer and full-time positions at the firm. Carmen has continued to serve as a mentor to many of them well past their initial roles and considers this one of the most rewarding non-banking activities she’s had with the firm. She joined the President’s Council of Cornell Women in 2020 to help enhance the involvement of women students, faculty, staff, and alumni within Cornell and its many communities.
“Our family has gained so much from our relationship with Cornell,” Carmen shares. “We have both sought to contribute back to Cornell over the years—to all the units and programs that helped shape us, like Human Ecology, ILR, and the programs now part of the Brooks School—through the contribution of our time, philanthropy, and other resources.”
Carmen and Mark hope that others will consider contributing not only their financial resources but their time, experience, and connections to the Cornell units that matter most to them.
“For me, the contributions of my time and experience have been amongst the most rewarding,” Mark says, “whether from serving as a recurring MPA colloquium speaker to helping form the Environmental Finance and Impact Investing Fellows program between the Brooks MPA program and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, or serving on various advisory boards and councils.”
The impact of their gift was bolstered by the university’s $50 million affordability challenge match commitment, which contributes an additional dollar for every two dollars given by endowed scholarship donors. Mark and Carmen had begun thinking about their gift without knowing about the matching challenge, but once they did, decided to upsize their commitment. “It was super powerful when we thought about the total value we could deliver to the units that matter the most to us,” Mark says. “In the end, we’re only as good as the students that we can attract. They are the backbone of the university.”
To date, this gift, along with gifts from other generous donors, helped the university reach $309 million towards its campaign goal of $500 million goal towards undergraduate affordability.