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‘There’s no place like … UMES’

  • Bisciotti Foundation’s $1M gift establishes Ozzie Newsome Scholars Program

    Friday, June 4, 2021

    A special group of future Baltimore City public school graduates who select the University of Maryland Eastern Shore as their college choice are eligible for free tuition, thanks to the city's National Football League franchise.

    Baltimore Ravens' owner Steve Bisciotti and his wife, Renee, announced Thursday they are making a $4 million gift to Maryland's Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the name of long-time team executive Ozzie Newsome.  UMES will receive $1 million. 

    Through The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation, the donation will create the Ozzie Newsome Scholars Program, which will underwrite scholarships for 80 Baltimore City Public Schools' graduates who pursue degrees at one of the state's four public historically Black institutions through the remainder of this decade. 

    “We are grateful to the Bisciottis for their generous donation in the name of 'The Wizard of Oz' Ozzie Newsome,” UMES President Heidi M. Anderson said.  “Our hope is the Newsome Scholars will take this wonderful gift they have been given and use it to make a better world.” 

    Each student who qualifies for a Newsome scholarship will receive $10,000 annually for up to five years. 

    The Bisciottis' research showed the college-bound students they envision helping deserve assurance they'll be able to graduate debt-free. 

    A year from now, UMES will work with the Bisciotti Foundation and its partner, the CollegeBound Foundation, to identify five Baltimore City high school graduates who qualify for a Newsome scholarship at UMES. 

    “UMES looks forward to welcoming Newsome Scholars in the fall of 2022 and the following years," Anderson said. 

    As many as 20 Baltimore City high school graduates will be able to attend the Eastern Shore's historically Black doctoral research institution under the Newsome Scholars Program. 

    "I am humbled and honored that Steve and Renee Bisciotti chose to associate my name with this tremendously important scholarship,” Newsome said.  “This program will give many local graduates the ability to continue their education, and in turn, will equip them with the necessary tools to make meaningful impact in the Baltimore community and beyond.” 

    Newsome retired as the Ravens' general manager in 2019 but remains active with the team as a scout. 

    UMES has long been a popular higher education option for generations of young Baltimoreans.  On May 14, the university awarded 32 degrees to graduates who listed Baltimore as their hometown. 

    "The University of Maryland Eastern Shore enrolls an impressive number of students each year from the Baltimore area who are not only looking to continue their education, but also take a break from city-life,” Anderson noted. 

    Newsome played collegiately at the University of Alabama and his entire professional career with the Cleveland Browns before the team moved to Baltimore.  He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and widely respected as the behind-the-scenes architect for assembling Ravens teams that won two Super Bowls. 

    "The brilliance of Ozzie Newsome extends far beyond his accolades as a player and executive," Bisciotti said via a team press release.  "Throughout his life, Ozzie has inspired and uplifted everyone around him with his leadership, humility and determination. We hope Ozzie's example will inspire each of the Newsome scholars." 

    The Bisciotti Foundation will donate an additional $400,000 to the CollegeBound Foundation to fund the Newsome Scholar's participation in the College Completion Program, bringing the Bisciotti Foundation's total gift to $4.4 million, according the Ravens. 

    "We embrace the responsibility of discovering ways to strengthen educational opportunities for the youth of Baltimore City," Bisciotti said.  "Any positive impact that can be made to help students - especially in the pursuit of a college education and their career goals - only strengthens our community as a whole.  The Ozzie Newsome Scholars Program has the added benefit of providing scholarship funds for Maryland's four HBCUs, which have served Maryland … so well for many years." 

    Newsome said his hope is “these students will further their education through Maryland's Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which is especially meaningful to me. I look forward to watching the progress made through this scholarship program."