Scholarships aim to attract minority students to M.B.A.s

By Isa Haviland

The U of C’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) announced last week the creation of a new scholarship fund aimed at attracting minority students to its prestigious M.B.A. program.

The Enid Fogel Diversity Scholarship, named for the first black associate dean at the GSB, will benefit minority students in the full-M.B.A. program with an award of up to $50,000 for two years of study, with funds available as soon as September 2008.

“This scholarship will help us attract more of the most talented individuals from all backgrounds, across diverse racial and gender lines,” said GSB Dean Edward Snyder in a press release.

Fogel, who died last month at 84, was the wife of Nobel Prize–winning economics professor Robert Fogel and served as the GSB’s associate dean of students from 1981 to 1988. Enid first worked at the U of C in the 1970s, as a financial aid director for the College.

“Over the years, Enid has been both my most confident supporter and my keenest critic,” Robert Fogel wrote in his autobiography posted on the Nobel Prize web site. “No individual has done more to help me pursue a career in science than my wife. When I was an assistant professor, she combined care of the children with many hours of unpaid labor as a research assistant in library archives. She helped boost my self-confidence when my unorthodox findings provoked controversy and criticism, and she often provided insightful suggestions for the improvement of my lectures, papers, books, letters, and research proposals.”

Every year, Enid Fogel and her husband hosted a dinner for minority students at the GSB.

The scholarship is part of a wider “Initiative for Diversity” recently launched at the GSB. The initiative seeks to “attract exceptional M.B.A. candidates from diverse backgrounds, build resources to ensure support for under-represented students, and raise the profile of Chicago GSB as a business force bringing together many diverse voices in the pursuit of excellence,” according to the school’s website.

The GSB has in many ways been a trailblazer for diversity in business schools, creating the first scholarship programs for blacks at a major business school in 1964 and awarding the first Ph.D. in business to a woman in 1929. GSB students founded the National Black M.B.A. Association in 1972, and that organization named the GSB the outstanding educational institution of the year in 2005.

The introduction of the new scholarships is part of a University-wide effort to promote diversity. The College admissions office announced last year that applicants would be able to apply using the Common Application, a move administrators hoped would attract more minority students. Last June, a $100-million undergraduate scholarship program was launched for low- and moderate-income students.

News editor Justin Sink contributed reporting to this article.