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Mellon gift to aid students from Fauquier

By Bob Brickhouse

The University has received a gift of more than $3 million from the estate of the late Paul Mellon to fund scholarships for needy students from his beloved Fauquier County.

Mellon, one of America’s most prominent art collectors and philanthropists who died in 1999, had a deep affection for the bucolic Piedmont Virginia county where he bred horses and lived for most of his adult life. Although known for its wealth, Fauquier County has many residents who are unable to afford college.

“Mr. Mellon was devoted to the people of his home county,” said Beverly Carter, co-executor of his estate. “It is highly fitting that deserving students from Fauquier be able to receive an education in his name.”

“This will have a dramatic impact on meeting the financial needs of Fauquier’s young people who want to attend U.Va.,” said John A. Blackburn, dean of admission. “It will play an important role in assisting with the education of many students. I hope this will serve as an incentive to the citizens of Fauquier County to consider the possibility of studying at U.Va. Unfortunately, too many students decide not to apply because they believe that they cannot afford it.”

This year alone, 16 U.Va. students from Fauquier applied for financial aid, according to Donna L. Oliver, senior assistant director of financial aid.
“On behalf of the students, faculty and staff, we want to express our deep appreciation for the establishment of these scholarships, which will be called Paul Mellon Scholarships,” she said.

Students from Fauquier who apply for financial aid with demonstrated need will automatically be considered for a scholarship, Oliver said. First preference will go to meeting the greatest needs. Students must reapply for financial aid each year.

In addition to $3 million to build a permanent endowment for the scholarships, Mellon’s estate has provided $150,000 to meet the immediate financial-aid needs of entering and already-enrolled students from Fauquier who attend U.Va. next fall.

Mellon’s other bequests to U.Va. include $20 million for prostate cancer research, the largest gift in the medical school’s history, and a vast collection of rare items related to American and Virginia history given to the University Library.


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