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A multi-million dollar West German conglomerate has donated $500,000 to a scholarship program for German exchange students at the Kennedy School of Government.
The donation, announced during Commencement, was made by the Thyssen AG corporation through its wholly-owned American subsidiary, the Budd Company. Marjorie S. Lucker, assistant dean and registrar of the Kennedy School, said the grant marks the first large contribution in a major fundraising drive to establish an endowment for the McCloy Scholars Program.
"We want those funds so we would always be able to have McCloy fellows in the [Master of Public Administration (MPA)] program," Lucker said.
The McCloy program allows between 16 and 18 students from Germany to study at the Kennedy School each academic year.
While the grant coincides with massive political shifts in the soon-to-be-unified Germany, Lucker said the timing was not intentional.
"It's exciting that it happened at this time, but it's an accident of timing," Lucker said.
Siegfried Buschmann, chief executive officer of the Michigan-based Budd Company, said the donation carried less political meaning than good will. Buschmann said it was the company's way of recognizing friendship and good market relations between Germany and the United States.
"It's really a way to say `thank you' to the United States," said Buschmann. He noted that the grant was announced on the same day that West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl delivered Harvard's Commencement address.
Chester D. Haskell '69, associate dean for the MPA program, said that in the current economic climate, many businesses are interested in encouraging education projects that cross international lines.
"There's an international business angle to [this donation]," Haskell said. "The check will have the Budd Company's name on it."
Haskell also said the donation represented animportant step toward internationalizing theUniversity, something that outgoing PresidentDerek C. Bok has made a priority throughout his20-year tenure.
"It's all part of the internationalization ofthe University you've been hearing so much about,"said Haskell.
Haskell says he thinks American studentsbenefit from the presence of exchange students.The McCloy program exists not only to offeropportunities to foreigners but also "to meet theneeds of American students also," said Haskell,who added that some one-third of the KennedySchool's students come from abroad.
"You learn a lot sitting beside a Germanstudent in class, and viceversa," Haskell said.
The McCloy scholarship, modeled after theprestigious Rhodes Scholarship, is awarded tofewer than ten of the approximately 100 Germanstudents who apply. Most of the scholars are intheir late 20s and enter the program with theAmerican equivalent of some post-graduateeducation.
"It's a very demanding process in a couple ofstages," said Armin Schmiedeberg, a graduate ofthe program. "You have to have a finished Germandegree to apply and this has to be an honorsdegree."
Schmiedeberg said the McCloy scholarships weremeant "to establish a linkage" between his countryand the U.S., and predicted that interest in theprogram would increase following Germanreunification.
"I think that there will be some moreapplications, especially from East Germany,"Schmiedeberg said.
He also said that the competition would beslightly more difficult for the East Germans,because their educational system was notequivalent to the West German one. As a result,Schmiedeberg said, program officials should becareful to make the scholarships are accessible tothem.
"Every German who has achieved what the boardis looking for should be able to study here," thedoctoral candidate said.
The McCloy program was established in 1982 by agrant from the Volkswagen Foundation, analogous,Schmiedeberg says, to the American FordFoundation. Because the German foundation awardsonly one donation to each charity it gives to, itsgrant money will be gone by 1992.
Currently, the Kennedy School is attempting toraise $6.5 million to maintain the program beyond1992. Schmiedeberg said that James Cooney,executive director of the program, hopes to obtaingrants both from American and German sources.
Schmiedeberg said that Edzart Reuter, chiefexecutive officer of the Daimler-Benz company,which produces Mercedes-Benz cars, would beresponsible for fundraising in Germany.
"The goal is to establish a 50/50 financing,"Schmiedeberg said.
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