The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced the Kenneth C. Frazier PhRMA Scholars Program.
Named in honor of retiring PhRMA board member and visionary industry leader Ken Frazier, it will provide college scholarships to academically high-achieving, low-income students in Washington, D.C., and in Frazier’s hometown of Philadelphia.
Currently executive chairman of Merck, Frazier has served on the PhRMA board since 2011.
“Whether pursuing treatments for diseases like West Nile virus and COVID-19, or speaking out against injustice, Ken has always been a believer in using his platform in the biopharmaceutical industry to change lives,” said Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of PhRMA. “This scholarship continues that legacy, helping students in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., pursue a college education and their dreams for a bright future.”
The Kenneth C. Frazier PhRMA Scholars Program will support the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., chapters of Minds Matter, a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect ambitious and determined students from low-income families with the people, preparation and possibilities to succeed in college, create their future and change the world. On average, Minds Matter students get 85% of their tuition needs met through federal and local grants, school aid, scholarships and loans. However, the remaining 15% of tuition represents a significant barrier to accessing and affording a post-secondary education.
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The scholarship program seeks to fill this gap and reduce barriers to ensure these exceptional students from our communities are able to benefit from all the opportunities a college education offers, according to Ubl. PhRMA will provide needs-based scholarships to Minds Matter students each year to help fill the gap between the aid they receive and the total cost of school. "Students who are selected will exemplify Ken’s determination, love of learning and work ethic," he said. In total, PhRMA has committed $50,000 each year to Minds Matter to fund this scholarship program in both cities and to the organization to support their work to tutor and mentor students through the college application process.
Eli Lilly chairman and CEO, and PhRMA’s board chair David Ricks said, “We’ve all learned so much from Ken and his passion for improving patients’ lives. He has also inspired us to step up our efforts to address racial inequities, and this scholarship will continue our industry’s work on this important issue.”
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President of Takeda and PhRMA’s board chair-elect Ramona Sequeira said, “Ken is leaving behind large shoes to fill. While we’ll miss him tremendously, his vast contributions to our industry will endure and we’ll continue to build on the wonderful work he’s done, including through this scholarship program.”
PhRMA stated that this effort is in tandem with PhRMA’s equity initiative. Equity is critical to the health and well-being of Black and Brown communities, and it remains essential to a robust ecosystem of innovation. America’s biopharmaceutical companies are pushing for necessary systemic and long-term change to better meet the needs of Black and Brown America.