PROVIDENCE, RI [Brown University] — A generous $25 million gift from Brown University alumni and siblings Aysha and Omar Shoman will provide major financial assistance to Brown’s international undergraduate students and expand the University’s ability to attract and to educate the most outstanding international students from all socio-economic groups.
The Shomans donation — the largest individual donation for international financial aid in Brown’s history — will also advance the University’s path to becoming only the sixth school in the United States to implement first-class admissions. need-blind cycle for international students. Although Brown has ignored the needs of domestic students since 2003, the University currently has a “needs-conscious” policy that considers a student’s financial need in admissions decisions for international undergraduate students.
The University is working to aggressively increase its financial aid budget in an effort to become completely blind to the needs of international students for the class of 2029 (which will begin at Brown in the fall of 2025). The donation from the Shomans — who both earned Bachelor’s degrees from Brown as international students — marks major progress toward the $120 million fundraising goal that will move to blind admissions.
University President Christina H. Paxson said an increasingly diverse population of international students will bring distinct experiences and perspectives to the Brown community, helping students prepare for a life and a successful careers in a global company.
“I am regularly inspired by the drive, intellectual curiosity and accomplishments of our international students, and the world and our nation desperately need the contributions they can make,” Paxson said. “We want to be able to admit outstanding international students to Brown, regardless of their financial resources, and the generosity of Aysha and Omar Shoman will allow us to do this for many students for generations to come.”
Sergio Gonzalez, senior vice president for advancement, said Shomans’ commitment will inspire others as the university strives to secure need-blind international admissions.
“As we meet with our alumni and friends and talk to them about this initiative, we see strong interest and support for building an inclusive community where the most outstanding students from around the world can consider Brown regardless their financial situation,” Gonzalez said. . “The Shomans’ donation is groundbreaking and paves the way for the University’s goal of becoming blind to the needs of international students.”
The gift is part of BrownTogether, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University’s history, which has raised $3.27 billion to date to support priorities ranging from scholarships to residential and campus life initiatives, to research on pressing societal issues. Through the momentum of the Shomans Principal Gift, the University has to date raised more than $61 million in international financial assistance from Brown alumni and relatives.
A deep commitment to education
For Omar and Aysha Shoman, supporting education has deep family roots.
“My grandfather dropped out of school when he was 6 years old,” said Omar Shoman. “In 1911, when he came to New York, he learned to read and write on the boat from Palestine. He had only 20 dollars in his pocket when he arrived in the United States. He started as a door-to-door salesman and then started his own business.