University Trustee Rich Handler and his wife, Martha, have announced their intention to make a gift of $20 million that will raise their total giving to $25 million—the largest contribution to student scholarship in University of Rochester history. The additional gift will provide substantial support to the Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship Fund. The fund was established in 2007 by Rich and Martha with a grant totaling $5 million and is named in honor of Rich’s parents.

Student recipients are known as the Alan and Jane Handler Scholars and are selected on the basis of outstanding scholarship potential, financial need because of under-privileged backgrounds, and outstanding potential to be future leaders. Each student receives a scholarship that covers all University expenses, including tuition and fees, room, board, and books. Handler Scholars receive awards annually throughout their undergraduate years at the University, as long as they demonstrate adequate academic performance.

“Martha and I increased our scholarship program to $25 million because we were so pleased that the University of Rochester did such an excellent job of selecting amazing students, who through no fault of their own are truly in need,” Rich Handler said.

“There is never a perfect or easy time to make a significant charitable gift, but the University has embraced our passion to help extremely qualified future leaders who have already overcome huge odds. These young men and women just need a little help before they set out to make the world a better place. We are honored to be part of this process and look forward to participating in this significantly expanded program,” Rich Handler added.

Each year, one of the Alan and Jane Handler Scholars will be designated by the College in honor of Jeffrey Bordeaux Jr. “Jeffrey Bordeaux was an example of the incredible potential that talented young men and women of modest means often possess, if given a chance to succeed,” explained Rich Handler.

Richard Handler is a Class of 1983 graduate, Chairman and CEO of Jefferies & Company, and a University Trustee. The Handlers are members of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society.

“Rich and Martha Handler have made a truly visionary gift,” said University President Joel Seligman. “Their generosity will make it possible for deserving students to attend the University for generations to come. And coming at a time when families are still feeling the effects of the financial downturn, this significant augmentation of their original commitment is especially timely. We are profoundly grateful.”

The Handlers’ $25 million fund is the largest dedicated to scholarships in the University’s history. Ten Rochester undergraduates—seven from the College and three from the Eastman School of Music—have benefited from the Handler Fund since its inception in 2007.

Dean Douglas Lowry of the Eastman School said: “This gift is especially meaningful for the Eastman students who are designated as Handler Scholars, a select group that exemplifies, first and foremost, high musical standards, but dynamic intellectual ones as well. These are the artist leaders of tomorrow, who might not be able to receive an Eastman and Rochester education without significant assistance.”

Peter Lennie, Senior Vice President and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, said of Handler Scholars in the College: “The Alan and Jane Handler Scholarships attract and support unusually talented students with financial need. This marvelously generous gift will enable us to strengthen and extend a program that has already had a profound impact on our undergraduates.”

“The Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship has enabled me to focus on what most interests me,” said Handler Scholar Amy Roth ’11, a psychology major who plans to attend nursing school and to pursue a career in mental health services. “I have had the freedom to find what I’m passionate about.”

“I can’t tell you how much of a relief this has been. One thing Rich has stressed is the importance of giving back, or paying it forward. I’m so grateful for the help I’ve received, and the Handlers’ generosity,” Amy Roth added.