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Gates Millennium Scholars*

by Faith Breen, Professor of Business Management, and Former Deputy Executive Director of Gates Millennium Scholars

Yes, I did met Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corporation. And, yes, he looks just like his pictures! But, my most exciting experience as Deputy Executive Director of the Gates Millennium Scholars was seeing the faces of the first twenty recipients of the program and knowing that they would be joined by 4,000 additional awardees!

The Gates Millennium Scholars is a management case study—a management professor’s dream come true! This is because GMS was a start-up in the truest sense. We had less than nine months to plan, staff, implement, and award 4,000 scholarships. Because of the source of these funds, we were expected to use state-of-the-art technologies. In fact, GMS pioneered the use of the Internet for review of scholarship applications. And, due to the efforts of Charles Hansborough, academic assistant to the vice president for Instruction, several of our faculty were able to participate in this historic event!

In addition to relying upon the Internet, GMS also implemented scanning technologies for records management and workflow. I also participated in the development of a database and gained a better understanding of the changing world of student financial aid. Thus, the use of these new technologies brought home the realities of process reengineering, and management streamlining!

On a more personal note, I had the opportunity to work with representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United Negro College Fund, Hispanic College Fund, and American Indian College Fund. Because the Asian and Pacific Islanders did not have a college fund, I worked closely with an advisory group called the Advisory Committee of Asian and Pacific Islanders. I also gave a presentation to the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus on Capital Hill. And, as you would expect, GMS had a multi-racial staff. Thus, managing workforce diversity ceased to be another "theoretical" exercise and became an opportunity to gain practical supervisory experience.

In closing, I gave up a year of my life because I believe in the goals of this program. In the coming years, I hope that we will all be able to see the results; and more importantly, benefit from the outstanding young leaders that will be nurtured and known as the Gates Millennium Scholars!

* The Gates Millennium Scholars is a scholarship program funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This Scholarship is a twenty-year commitment and it is designed to help high achieving low-income minority students get a college education. It is also designed to develop a cadre of leaders who represent the diversity of our population and who can lead America into the 21st Century. For additional information on Foundation programs, you may wish to go to


The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 1

Fall 2001