Gerald C. Grant Jr. washed dishes for $2 an hour in high school and, in college, worked two jobs while studying full-time.
Along the way, he earned associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees — the latter two at Florida International University — and learned how to manage money for himself and others. Grant, the branch director of financial planning at AXA Advisors in Miami, and his wife have created a new $1 million endowment to put business students through FIU.
“There are many brilliant students who simply don’t have the income to pay for tuition, and that’s who Jennifer and I want to help through this endowment,” Grant said. “When I was president of the FIU Alumni Association [from 1995 to 1996], we talked about the idea of doing something like this. Now that we’re in a position where we’re able to do it, it felt like the right time.”
The Gerald C. Grant Jr. and Jennifer Adger Grant Scholarship Fund will provide full tuition for eligible College of Business undergraduates. Students will be required to maintain high GPAs and will have access to tutoring and career counseling, two things that Grant said helped him through school.
“Having that support was important to me, especially when I changed majors from accounting to business administration,” he said. “Even though I have a strong numbers background, my people skills and personality matched better with management.”
The university noted that the $1 million scholarship is the largest gift to date from a black alumnus. Grant said he’d rather focus on the spirit of giving than the race of the donor.
“It’s a good feeling, but it’s more about leading by example than about the amount of the gift,” he said. “If 10 people come together and each give $100,000, that has the same impact as one person giving $1 million. My hope is to increase the awareness of how important it is to give back to the university.”
“The Grants’ gift speaks to our central mission at College of Business: to enable all students to excel in the real world,” Dean David R. Klock said in a statement. “We are deeply gratified that a successful alumnus like Gerald Grant understands the importance of supporting our students and demonstrates his ongoing commitment to our mission.”