Couple funds scholarship at Indiana State in son’s memory

TERRE HAUTE (Inside INdiana Business) — A family from Chicago is honoring their late son by donating $350,000 to Indiana State University to establish the Michael Grant Pajakowski Bridge the Gap Scholarship endowment.

Jim and Sue Pajakowski have been longtime supporters of the university. Jim graduated with a degree in accounting from Indiana State in 1982.

The Bridge the Gap scholarship program provides the funding students need between the financial resources they have, such as financial aid or out-of-pocket), and their full cost of attendance. It is specifically earmarked for disadvantaged students from Chicago who attend Indiana State.

“Jim and Sue have made a tremendous commitment in Michael’s memory to positively impact others and benefit students for generations to come,” Indiana State University President Deborah Curtis said. “Michael’s legacy will ensure our academically talented students from the Chicago area, regardless of their financial situation, are on track to walk across the stage at commencement.”

Their commitment will provide $20,000 each year to support students.

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“Young people in less advantaged communities in Chicago are not facing a level playing field,” Jim Pajakowski said. “That is simply a fact. Against the odds, many fight their way through the obstacles, only to be deflated along the way when they can no longer make ends meet.”

Bridge the Gap Scholarships are a current funding priority for the university. Since the introduction of the effort one year ago, more than $700,000 in donor support has been raised by the Division of University Advancement.

“We hope our gift will enrich the lives of others and that someday they can pass it forward,” said Jim Pajakowski.