The Cheryl and Joseph Della Rosa Endowed Scholarship and GSP Support
In March 2018, the highly regarded Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP) was able to create a new position, the director of outreach and engagement, to take their best practices on the road. Corey Stewart (F’15), who had worked for the program as an advisor for three years, was a natural fit. In his new post, he visits other colleges and universities to share the GSP story, offers guidance as schools create their own programs to support talented first-generation college students, and gathers ideas to bring back to the Hilltop. The position was conceived of and funded by the Della Rosa family.
“Most of our peer institutions provide financial aid, but few provide this level of ongoing support for scholarship students,” explains Stewart (F’15). “By sharing our best practices, we can improve the higher education landscape in this country.”
“By sharing our best practices, we can improve the higher education landscape in this country.”
Stewart is proud to be an ambassador for the program. “When I first started working with GSP students, I noticed a need for more mentoring, more programming for subpopulations within GSP—such as pre-med students—and now we have allocated resources to help those students.” Being involved in the program’s evolution keeps him on his toes in his new role and excited to share what he is learning with other schools.
GSP receives support from numerous individuals and organizations, among them the Della Rosa Foundation, led by Cheryl and Joseph Della Rosa (Parents’05, ’07). “I got to know the Della Rosas two years ago when I was the Cristo Rey liaison within GSP,” adds Stewart. “They are closely involved with the Cristo Rey Network [of Catholic college preparatory high schools in underserved communities] and saw that Georgetown was providing very comprehensive support to Cristo Rey graduates. They see the long-term benefits of having more programs like GSP throughout the country.”
“Cheryl and I are both part of the first generation in our families to attend college, so GSP’s focus on first-generation college students clearly resonated with us,” shares Joe Della Rosa. “Ninety-six percent of GSP students graduate while the national average for college completion is only 31 percent for first-gen students—that’s just too low. Our family foundation’s focus is education, so we are excited to support the GSP team and Georgetown as they become a larger part of the national conversation about improving college completion.”
GSP’s Executive Director Melissa Foy (C’03) calls Cheryl and Joe “visionaries” for thinking about how to elevate the level of support for first-generation college students nationally. Foy adds, “The new outreach role enables us to take care of students and do our part as national stakeholders and influencers.”
The Della Rosas visit the Hilltop often as part of their volunteer efforts: Cheryl is currently a member of the College Board of Advisors and Joe is a former member of the University Board of Directors. When on campus, the Della Rosas also make time to have lunch with student recipients of the Cheryl and Joseph Della Rosa Endowed Scholarship. One such recipient is Francis Kpue (C’21), a sociology major originally from Hyattsville, Maryland. Kpue loves being part of Georgetown and wasted no time in jumping into Georgetown’s NAACP executive board and setting up a freelance photography business.
“Everyone here is so supportive,” shares Kpue. “I look forward to ‘Cookies with Corey’ gatherings and everything GSP sets up. It has been a treat to get to know Cheryl and Joe Della Rosa as well.
They are such genuine people. I was excited to recently meet their son, who is pursuing a career in film, which is an interest area of mine as well.”
“We’ve seen first hand the impact that programs like GSP and The Cristo Rey Network have had on terrific, talented young students. It’s wonderful to share their experience,” adds Cheryl Della Rosa.
“We are humbled and constantly enlightened by our involvement with the GSP program and its students.”