Students Who Face Adversity May Be More Well-Equipped for Success

The Mehlman Talent Initiative is designed to help high-achieving, low-income students who have overcome adversity, who have the potential to make a positive impact on the world.

Franklin and Marshall College, a private liberal arts institution located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is introducing a revolutionary new program that seeks to develop a culture of resilience on campus. The program, called the Mehlman Talent Initiative, will empower students with the strength they need to overcome any obstacle.

Franklin and Marshall College alumnus and trustee Ken Mehlman founded the initiative. Mehlman, who graduated in 1988, put $1 million of his own money towards the program.

If his name sounds familiar, that’s because Mehlman has had quite the high-profile career. Mehlman previously served as director of the White House Office of Political Affairs. He also managed President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. He later went on to become the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Today, he is the Global Head of Public Affairs at private equity firm KKR.

“Young men and women who have already overcome adversity bring different life experiences and are well positioned for 21st century success, but they need practical tools to flourish,” Mehlman stated. “This initiative will support these students and provide a framework for the rest of us to learn from them.”

His $1 million donation will go towards supporting 10 high-achieving, low-income students who have faced significant obstacles on their journey to success. A specially trained team of faculty and staff members will mentor the students and help them use their adversity as a source of strength and inspiration.

“With this tremendous gift—half of which is dedicated to financial aid—he [Mehlman] further enables the College to cultivate the greatness of high-achieving students so that they will be empowered to achieve big goals in their lives and make disproportionately positive contributions to society,” said Daniel R. Porterfield, president of Franklin and Marshall College. “The Mehlman Talent Initiative will continue to make F&M a stronger school and help us create an even stronger community, and we are immensely appreciative of Ken’s support.”

As generous as Mehlman’s donation is, it is only the first step in a much larger vision. Mehlman is also launching The Slingshot Project, an even bigger program that instills in students the values and characteristics needed to triumph in the face of misfortune.

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