Renowned writer and art critic Suzanne Muchnic ’62 has pledged $500,000 to support Scripps College’s Presidential Scholarship Initiative (PSI). The gift pushes the initiative, which was launched by President Lara Tiedens in 2017, within inches of its goal of $10 million in endowed funds to provide loan-relieving scholarships to deserving Scripps students.
Muchnic, who majored in art during her time at Scripps, is no stranger to the power of financial aid. She recalls her father’s reaction upon receiving her acceptance: “He suggested he could scrape together enough to send me for a year,” she says. Thankfully, scholarships were there to help.
“There’s no way I could have attended Scripps without a scholarship,” Muchnic says, noting that her very first gift to Scripps, made shortly after her graduation, was ten dollars toward scholarship aid. That experience not only influenced her future involvement with Scripps—she currently sits on the Board of Trustees and is writing the first history of the College—but also her lifelong desire to help students in situations like her own.
“There are so many worthy causes to support, but Scripps is absolutely my primary one,” she explains, “because beyond being fed and having a roof over your head, getting an education is key to having a productive life and getting ahead, particularly for young women. Scholarships that help students to pursue that education make a measurable difference.”
Scholarships also play a critical role in driving Scripps toward being a more inclusive, accessible institution. More than half of Scripps students receive some form of financial aid, with many students already benefiting from the PSI. In the 2019–2020 academic year, 95 students received scholarships, with a total $267,000 reduction in loan amounts. In making her gift through planned IRA charitable contributions, Muchnic demonstrates just one of the several creative ways Scripps supporters can fund areas, like scholarships, that are meaningful to them. She looks forward to seeing the College meet and ultimately exceed the PSI’s $10 million endowment target as other donors contribute to the fund.
“In terms of scholarships, I do believe in standing up and being counted in causes that you really care about. I hope others will weigh in to whatever degree they can to give young students the kind of opportunities that we were so fortunate to have had,” she says. “We’ve been working hard to make a Scripps experience meaningful for a broader diversity of students. I hope this gift helps make that a reality.”
Scholarship aid is one of the best ways to ensure the Scripps experience is inclusive and accessible to any exceptional student, regardless of their ability to pay. To help us reach our Presidential Scholarship Initiative goal, please consider making a gift here.