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February 07, 2023

Temple receives $10.9 million gift to support students with physical disabilities

Funding from the new Jeanne Zweig Endowment will provide scholarships, assistive technology and career counseling

Higher Education Temple University
Temple Students Disabilities Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Beginning in fall 2023, Temple University's new Jeanne Zweig Endowment will provide scholarships and other resources for students with physical disabilities.

Temple University will receive $10.9 million in funding to provide scholarships and other personal support for students living with physical disabilities, the university announced Tuesday.

Funds from the newly created Jeanne Zweig Endowment will help cover scholarships and accommodations Temple students may need, including assistive technology, support services and career planning and coaching.

As Temple's student population has grown over the last several decades, the university's population of students with physical disabilities has increased. In 1977, Temple only had about 50 students with such disabilities. In 2020, more than 3,500 students with physical disabilities were enrolled at the university.

Zweig, a 1953 graduate of Temple's Fox School of Business, lived with cerebral palsy while she attended Temple for her bachelors and masters degrees. She graduated at the top of her class and went on to create her own accounting firm. During her lifetime, she advocated on behalf of others with physical conditions and previously supported program development at Temple's Office of Disability Resources. 

Starting this fall, the endowment will provide $450,000 annually for scholarship recipients with physical disabilities. 

Students with physical and learning disabilities are less likely to graduate from four-year degree programs than their peers and are more likely to face employment barriers as adults. These students are also more likely to be excluded from or not participate in extracurricular activities and social clubs than their peers.

Temple's efforts to accommodate students with physical disabilities took a notable step forward in the 1980's with the creation of the Adapted Recreation and Sports program, which gave students with disabilities alternative recreational outlets. Temple also has since developed its SHOUT peer support group to connect students with one another through regular meetings that are free to attend.

The Jeanne Zweig Endowment will coordinate support services through Philadelphia-based JEVS Human Services, an organization that that works to improve employability, quality of life and independence among a range of vulnerable populations.

Temple students interested in learning more about scholarship opportunities and eligibility are encouraged to register with the Office of Disability Resources to provide relevant documentation. Prospective students are invited to email the office for more information.

Temple recently announced it will also commit $1 million annually to new initiatives that support the mental health and wellness of students and employees. That will involve hiring additional counselors and the creation of a new Health and Well-Being Division.