“It’s important to me that students aren’t limited from opportunities and careers because of their backgrounds,” Ho said. “I am so appreciative of the financial aid program and similar funding initiatives across campus that allow so many of us to experience the world beyond Cambridge and our hometowns — to see for ourselves the issues we learn about in courses here.”
Ho emphasized that she is excited to begin a career in conservation and environmental policy after graduating in May. She said it would not have been possible without the support of so many financial aid donors.
Ken Griffin ’89, who in 2014 made the largest gift to financial aid in College history, attended the event. He has spoken of the life-changing effects that access to higher education had on his life, and of his dedication to providing the same access to students today.
“I believe the gates of Harvard should be open to our nation’s best and brightest irrespective of their financial means,” Griffin said. “And I hope every student at Harvard appreciates the incredible opportunity they have, and that they go on to make meaningful contributions to society throughout the course of their lives.”
In addition to Griffin’s unwavering support, Harvard also benefited from the significant energy, leadership, and contributions from his financial aid co-chairs in the record-breaking Campaign for Arts and Sciences that concluded last year: Tim Barakett ’87, M.B.A. ’93; Lloyd Blankfein ’75, J.D. ’78; and Jerry Jordan ’61, M.B.A ’67, a long-time champion of the program.
The Griffin Leadership Challenge Fund for Financial Aid created the opportunity for donors to use matching funds to establish up to 600 new scholarships. Responding to a groundswell of interest from alumni and parents who wanted to participate, in the last months of the campaign Griffin expanded the challenge by 10 percent, funding additional matches that propelled the campaign well beyond its goals. In all, Griffin’s gift inspired and motivated more than 300 donor households to use matching funds, establishing more than 650 new scholarships, an unprecedented achievement.
One recent alumna, Morgen Peck ’03, felt so strongly about supporting financial aid that she made her first major gift to Harvard in the closing months of the campaign, using a Griffin match to establish a scholarship.
“I feel it is critical to support the mission of financial aid in order to ensure that Harvard continues to nurture its well-established culture of respect and diverse student body, which collectively make the Harvard community so exceptional,” Peck said. “Being part of the celebration is a firsthand reminder of how impactful financial aid is on an individual basis to current students, whose accomplishments continually amaze me.”
Senior Danielle Roybal has focused her time at Harvard on her commitment to human rights and women’s rights. An active participant in Harvard Model Congress, Roybal conducted her thesis research on the role of women in Northern Ireland’s conflict resolution.