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Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business Partners With KKR To Launch Scholarship Program

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and KKR have announced a new program called the Accelerator Scholars Program for Cornell students who are the first in their family to attend college. The program offers a comprehensive four-year curriculum intended to provide enhanced support, resources, and opportunities to help bolster students’ skill set and experience.

“In partnering with KKR, the business community and business education are committed to joining hands in service for a greater purpose,” said Andrew Karolyi, Charles Field Knight dean of the SC Johnson College of Business. “This joint effort of resources, time and dedication will create transformative programming, which will ultimately better serve our first-generation students and our society at large.”

The Accelerator Scholars program is slated to launch during the 2023-2024 academic school year and is intended to amplify the existing ‘Pre-Collegiate Summer Scholars Program.’ It will focus on professional and life skills, mentorship, coaching, networking, and relationship-building, all designed to prepare Dyson and Nolan Hotel School undergraduate students for success. Dyson and Nolan schools represent two of the three schools within the SC Johnson College. The third school is the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

KKR is the founding sponsor of the Accelerator Scholars program. KKR’s participation will support 50 students from the classes of 2026 and 2027, in addition to 17 upperclassmen mentors, throughout the year for activities including virtual career sessions, mentoring with KKR Cornell Alumni, mock interviews and more. Program participants will also be invited to visit KKR’s headquarters in New York City.

“Although the number of first-generation college students continues to rise, many still face barriers to graduating,” said Pamela Alexander, Managing Director, and Head of Corporate Citizenship, KKR. “KKR’s Citizenship Program focuses on identifying high impact areas where we can drive economic opportunity and security in the communities where we operate. By partnering with Cornell on this excellent initiative, we are helping to empower first-generation students and build the next generation of leaders in our industry.”

In addition to cohort-wide activities and events, the Accelerator Scholars will be organized into 'Mentor Pods.' The pods will consist of three Accelerator Scholars (first-year, sophomore, and transfer students) and one Mentor (junior and senior students). Mentor activities will include monthly “Lunch & Learn” workshops, regular meetings, networking opportunities, a career trek, cohort events and meetings with KKR mentors.

“As the program evolves, we envision that our first-gen students will reap several benefits, including advancing their personal growth, expanding their network and enhancing professional skills,” said Michelle Duguid, associate dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging of the SC Johnson College of Business. “Over one-third of undergraduates across the U.S. identify as first-generation and with that trend continuing to grow, as an inclusive community, we look forward to meeting the needs of these students and helping to fully support them for success.”

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