The Santo Domingo family, a major supporter of education and social development in Colombia, has made a generous gift to create a fellowship for Colombian graduate students at MIT.
The Santo Domingo Family Fellowship Fund will cover the full costs of the initial year of graduate studies for students with financial need in the schools of Science, Engineering, or Architecture and Planning.
Julio Mario Santo Domingo, a well-known entrepreneur throughout Colombia, had the conviction that education could improve the conditions of those Colombians that do not have access to schools or universities. With his ongoing spirit and will, he supported financial aid programs in highly respected universities of the country. This legacy is carried forward today by Santo Domingo family members, and this fellowship is the first of its kind at MIT for students from Colombia, Latin America’s third largest country. Students are eligible to apply now for admission for the fall semester of 2017.
“For generations, the Santo Domingo family has demonstrated a commitment to the ideals MIT holds dear,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “The family’s generosity will create a wonderful new pathway for talented Colombian students to join us in our mission to solve the world’s great challenges. We are extremely grateful.”
The Santo Domingo family has a long history of philanthropy in Colombia. In 1953, businessman Mario Santo Domingo created the foundation that bears his name today. Fulfilling the philanthropic priorities of the Santo Domingos, the foundation develops programs for the poorest members of the Colombian population, including affordable housing, business training, and microfinancing. Most recently, it has partnered with public and private entities to construct up to 50,000 homes for low-income families on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Mario Santo Domingo’s grandson Alejandro Santo Domingo now leads the foundation’s activities. A noted philanthropist, he also supports environmental causes through the Latin America Conservation Council of the Nature Conservancy and is president of the ALAS Foundation, an organization founded by the singer Shakira and the late writer Gabriel García Márquez to fight child poverty in Latin America.
“It has always been my family’s conviction that education is the main pillar towards building sustainable development. My father always said that education would be the highest return investment one could make,” he said.