Robert Carr has a vision. In the not-too-distant future, 50 students from low-income New Jersey families will enroll at TCNJ and graduate in four years with no debt. Thanks to a $1 million gift from Carr’s Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF), that vision is now destined to become reality,
“GSBF is thrilled to partner with The College of New Jersey to provide maximum access to a four-year college education to qualified students of modest means,” said Carr at a June 30 campus ceremony. “TCNJ shares our mission of helping students realize their full potential.”
The students will be identified as high school freshman, assigned a mentor who advises them and helps prepare them to succeed in college, and provides assistance in assessing career and college choices. The first group will arrive at TCNJ in fall 2019.
Long before he became involved in giving scholarships to students, Carr received one himself—$250 from the Lockport Women’s Club—when he graduated from high school in 1963.
“It meant a lot to me. I got a plaque with my name on it, my picture in the newspaper. I don’t even know why I got it. It just happened,” he said. “I always vowed that whenever I was able, I would contribute that money back—with interest.”
Today, as chairman and CEO of Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest processors of debit and credit card transactions, Carr is making good on that promise.
Beginning in his hometown of Lockport, Illinois, the foundation has already awarded 250 scholarships to high-striving students who don’t have the financial resources to attend college. This year, the program expanded to New Jersey, where he currently lives. The ambitious program aims to put 1,000 students—many of whom will be the first in their family to get a degree—through college.
“As a public institution, we are committed to serving talented students from all socioeconomic backgrounds,” said TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “This gift will help ensure that anyone who is intellectually capable will have access to a high quality TCNJ education.”