UChicago announces $24 million gift to support veterans in new joint program

Anonymous gift to provide opportunities to earn accelerated joint AB/MBA degrees

UChicago student veterans Colin Augustson, Nicholas Golin and Robert Zamora will be the first cohort of the new Accelerated Booth Scholars Program, thanks to an anonymous $24 million gift announced today to support UChicago student veterans.

The Accelerated Booth Scholars Program—part of an ongoing effort to create a pathway for scholars from all walks of life to succeed in their studies and pursue a rewarding career—offers students with a minimum of three years of full-time, pre-College work the opportunity to apply to earn a dual degree in five years. 

The gift will provide qualified cohorts of student veterans in the College with financial aid assistance to help cover program costs of this joint AB/MBA degree starting in spring 2023. In addition to scholarship support, these students will receive guidance on academics, internships, and networking opportunities.

“The University of Chicago has long benefited from the tremendous contributions of our veteran scholars,” said President Paul Alivisatos. “They bring to the University a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and I am delighted to know that this wonderful gift will bolster our efforts to recruit promising veterans and support them in accelerating the pathway toward realizing their educational aspirations.”

The anonymous donors were inspired by the existing resources offered by the College and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to contribute to the continued success of student veterans at UChicago.

“We would like to thank the University of Chicago for its innovative and bold vision to create a program that is respectful of the time in service of our military veterans while recognizing the value that military service brings to an academic environment,” said the donors. “This program builds upon the success of the College and Booth to further highlight the power of the union between civilians and the military that collaboratively expands the knowledge and awareness that drives advancement.”

The first cohort includes three student veterans in the Class of 2024: Colin Augustson, former sergeant and veteran of the Marines from rural Illinois who was also selected for the highly competitive study abroad program with the London School of Economics; Nick Golin, former corporal, and another veteran of the Marines from the Chicago suburbs who has a passion for finance and an internship with Goldman Sachs lined up for next summer; and Robert Zamora, former sergeant and Army veteran from suburban Plainfield, Ill., who has experience in foreign intelligence and an interest in commercial real estate.

“Student veterans at UChicago showcase unique leadership skills and a rigor for their studies that I am proud to cultivate and support,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “As a military veteran myself, I know that educational resources and financial support for veterans are critical, and I am grateful that this gift will provide opportunities for these exceptional students to join their age group peers through the Accelerated Booth Scholars Program.”

Boyer and Madhav Rajan, dean of Chicago Booth, committed to launching joint initiatives between the College and Booth to afford eligible students an accelerated timeline to enter the workforce and catch up with their peers who attended undergraduate institutions immediately following high school.

“Booth remains committed to enhancing our support of veterans, who make outstanding students and business leaders with enormous potential for impact on society,” said Rajan, the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. “We are grateful for this generous gift, which will help us ensure that even more talented veterans from the College can access and benefit from the Booth MBA experience.”

Currently ranked No. 2 among the nation’s Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Chicago provides innovative, comprehensive support through a holistic suite of programs, including the Veteran Scholars Program. With over 75 students enrolled in the program and a veteran cohort in all four years of the College, the program provides admissions support, career and professional development opportunities, housing and social programming, and tailored academic advising.

Booth’s Armed Forces Group provides mentorship and career services support to veterans applying for and pursuing their MBA. Since 2006, Booth has seen a nearly 300 percent increase in MBA students who are veterans, and the number of incoming student veterans has increased by 85 percent in the past two years. In 2022, Booth admitted 40 student veterans to its Full-Time MBA class, the largest number of incoming veterans to date.

The College and Booth also participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps veterans pay for higher out-of-state, private school, foreign school, or graduate school tuition and fees that are not covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

For more information, visit the program website.