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Canisius College will receive $650,000 from the John R. Oishei Foundation over the next four years in support of the college's McGowan Scholarship Program for financially needy minority students from Buffalo.

The Oishei gift, announced today by the college president, the Rev. Vincent M. Cooke, will help offset Canisius' $2.1 million obligation to the scholarship program, begun last fall and funded in part by the McGowan Charitable Fund of Washington, D.C.

"Our first McGowan scholars have proven to be exceptional students, and I am confident that this program will be able to achieve its objective of educating a new generation of leaders for our city," Cooke said.

The program, meant to develop academic and leadership skills, provides up to 20 full, four-year, renewable scholarships annually for needy African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students from Buffalo.

The scholarships include full tuition, fees, room, board and a personal computer.

"The foundation is committed to supporting programs of excellence that benefit Western New York, especially those programs that assist the underserved in our community," Thomas E. Baker executive director of the foundation, said in a statement.

"In addition, it is high priority for us to participate in programs that garner financial support from outside our area to improve the quality of life here at home."

Students applying for the McGowan Scholarship Program at Canisius must have a minimum high school average of 85 percent or 3.0, a 950 SAT score or 20 ACT score and must demonstrate financial need.

Scholarship recipients take part in a McGowan Learning Communities Program that stresses team learning and is meant to build social as well as academic relationships among the recipients, and with their teachers and other Canisius students.

Canisius expects to have up to 80 students in the program by the fall of 2003.

The foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, now deceased, founder of Trico Products Corp. The McGowan Charitable Fund was begun by William G. McGowan, now deceased, founder of MCI, now MCI/Worldcom.

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