Written by Edward Smith
(AP) — Occidental College in Los Angeles, where a young Barack Obama studied for two years, said Wednesday it will offer scholarships in honor of the former president.
The small liberal arts school said the Barack Obama Scholars Program will begin next fall and “empower exceptional students committed to the public good.”
It will initially endow two scholarships and, with support from donors, eventually offer up to 20 awards.
Each scholar will be provided with funding for the entire cost of a four-year Occidental education, in addition to summer enrichment programs. The money will also pay for room, board and travel programs.
Obama studied at the school from 1979 to 1981, beginning his college studies there before transferring to Columbia University in New York City. His education continued several years later at Harvard Law School.
“My years at Occidental College sparked my interest in social and political causes, and filled me with the idea that my voice could make a difference,” Obama said in the school’s statement.
The private college in the Eagle Rock neighborhood was founded in 1887 and has about 2,000 undergraduates.
State lawmakers approved a plan earlier this month to name a stretch of freeway that runs near Occidental College as President Barack H. Obama Highway.
Last year the neighboring city of Pasadena dedicated a plaque at a small apartment building where Obama lived during his sophomore year at Occidental.