Carnegie Mellon University

A Powerful Network of Support

October 02, 2020

A Powerful Network of Support

Holleran Scholars program opens doors for the next generation of leaders and philanthropists

By Sarah Burke

When a generous donor made it possible for T. Jerome “Jerry” Holleran (E 1957, TPR 1969) to attend Carnegie Mellon University, Jerry promised to help another student in the future.

hollerans-square.jpgToday, he has kept that promise hundreds of times over.

In addition to directly supporting CMU students through scholarships and fellowships, Jerry and his wife, Carolyn, inspired 100 other supporters to join their efforts through special challenges in 2004 and 2011.

Aided by the Hollerans’ matching gifts, participating donors had the chance to establish their own personally meaningful endowed scholarship funds.

Collectively, this group of supporters has made a powerful impact. Their scholarships have brought a CMU education within reach for 413 “Holleran Scholars” — and counting.

Part of the Holleran Scholars program mission is to impart lessons about the value of philanthropy to scholarship recipients, encouraging them to make a difference at CMU and in the larger world in the future.

“For our young Holleran Scholars, we feel it is important for them to consider their scholarship support as a moral obligation, which they should pay forward in their life when they are in a position to do so,” Jerry said.

Vicky Li, CMU sophomore"To me, philanthropy means caring for others. It’s important for students like me to work hard not only for our own future, but also for the hundreds of individuals whose lives we can change."

Vicky Li, CMU sophomore

Sharing the Beauty of Giving

For Vicky Li, a CMU sophomore in business administration, support from the Holleran Scholars program created life-changing experiences — and introduced her to the power of philanthropy.

“I’ve learned that giving is a two-sided beauty that fulfills both the giver and the receiver,” Vicky said.

Each year, the Hollerans offer scholarship recipients a $5,000 grant to make a difference at CMU as a group. Together with her fellow scholarship recipients, Vicky had the chance to review project applications from campus organizations and choose where to direct the funds.

This spring, the group funded three critical initiatives to assist their fellow students impacted by the pandemic — the Tartan Emergency Support Fund, the CMU Pantry and Counseling and Psychological Services.

“To me, philanthropy means caring for others,” Vicky said. “It’s important for students like me to work hard not only for our own future, but also for the hundreds of individuals whose lives we can change.”

That message continues to resonate with Holleran Scholars after graduation. Aashir Master (S 2018), a recent graduate in mathematical sciences, is still giving back to the area of CMU closest to his heart.

“My scholarship helped tip the scales financially to permit me to attend CMU,” Aashir said. “I was able to take advantage of opportunities from summer research programs to Global Medical Brigades.”

Through his giving, Aashir is making it possible for today’s Global Medical Brigades students to improve access to health care in underserved communities.

For Jerry and Carolyn, stories like Vicky’s and Aashir’s were exactly what they had in mind when they founded the Holleran Scholars program — CMU students committing their time, talent and resources to make a positive impact.

“We admire the zest and enthusiasm that these students have demonstrated in applying their intelligence and skills to the ever-changing problems in today’s world,” Jerry said.