empowering bold academic discoveries with a $1 million scholarship for Chicagoland students
Endowed scholarship honors late son, and will impact generations of Sycamore students in the Chicagoland area. Looking for ways to provide more opportunities for young people in the Windy City, Jim and Sue Pajakowski are empowering bold academic discoveries with a $1 million Bridge the Gap scholarship focused on the underserved communities in the Chicagoland area.
Having graduated with a degree in accounting from Indiana State in 1982, Jim Pajakowski, along with his wife Sue, have been longtime supporters of the University. They recently honored their late son by donating $350,000 establish the Michael Grant Pajakowski Bridge the Gap Scholarship endowment.
The Bridge the Gap scholarship program provides the funding students need between the financial resources they have, such as financial aid or out-of-pocket), and their full cost of attendance. It is specifically earmarked for disadvantaged students from Chicago who attend Indiana State.
“Jim and Sue have made a tremendous commitment in Michael’s memory to positively impact others and benefit students for generations to come,” Indiana State University President Deborah Curtis said. “Michael’s legacy will ensure our academically talented students from the Chicago area, regardless of their financial situation, are on track to walk across the stage at commencement.”
Their commitment will provide $20,000 each year to support students.
“Young people in less advantaged communities in Chicago are not facing a level playing field,” Jim Pajakowski said. “That is simply a fact. Against the odds, many fight their way through the obstacles, only to be deflated along the way when they can no longer make ends meet.”
Bridge the Gap Scholarships are a current funding priority for the university. Since the introduction of the effort one year ago, more than $700,000 in donor support has been raised by the Division of University Advancement.