Calvin E. Tyler (left) and his wife, Tina (right), donate $20 million to Calvin’s alma mater Morgan State University as University President David K. Wilson looks on. Photo courtesy of Morgan State University.
Calvin E. Tyler (left) and his wife, Tina (right), donate $20 million to Calvin’s alma mater Morgan State University as University President David K. Wilson looks on. Photo courtesy of Morgan State University.

Morgan State University alumnus and philanthropist Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife, Tina, donated $20 million to the university.

The gift is the largest private donation from an alumnus in Morgan State University’s history, and it is believed to be the largest donation by a former student to any Historically Black College or University.

The Tylers’ donation will support the university’s endowed scholarship fund, which was established in the couple’s name in 2002 to provide full-tuition scholarships for need-based students living in the Tylers’ hometown of Baltimore.

The Tylers committed $5 million to the fund in 2016, the largest in Morgan’s history at the time.

As students and their families face financial hardships during the coronavirus pandemic, the Tylers decided to expand the scholarship fund to include Morgan students from across the country, not just Baltimore.

The fund has been used to provide 46 full-tuition scholarships and 176 partial scholarships to a total of 222 Morgan students.

“Morgan is so proud to call this son and daughter of the great City of Baltimore our own, and through their historic giving, the doors of higher education will most certainly be kept open for generations of aspiring leaders whose financial shortfalls may have kept them from realizing their academic dreams,” Morgan State University Presidents David K. Wilson said in a statement. “For public institutions, like Morgan, our charitable alumni are testaments to the legacy we collectively uphold, and the Tylers’ generosity over the years, culminating with this transformative commitment, is a remarkable example of altruism with great purpose. We are forever indebted to the Tylers.”

Calvin Tyler became the first in his family to attend college when he enrolled at Morgan State College in 1961 to study business administration.

After he interrupted his studies in 1963 due to a lack of funding, Tyler took a job as one of the first 10 UPS drivers in Baltimore in 1964. He worked his way up through the company and eventually became the senior vice president of operations before retiring in 1998 and joining the company’s board of directors.

Calvin and Tina committed to helping students who encountered similar financial hardships in pursuing their college degree as he had.

“My wife and I have become keenly aware of the effect that the pandemic has had on a number of young people trying to get an education [and] we have the resources to help a lot of young people,” Tyler said in a statement. “This is why we are increasing our commitment at Morgan; we want to have more full tuition scholarships offered to young people so that they can graduate from college and enter the next stage of their life debt free.”

Morgan State University received another notably large donation recently from venture philanthropist and author Mackenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Scott donated $40 million to the university in December 2020 as part of her plans to give away $4.2 billion to 384 organizations. Two other Maryland higher education institutions made the list — Bowie State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore — as well as other organizations: Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, United Way of Central Maryland, and The Y in Central Maryland.

Scott’s donation is the largest single private donation in the Morgan State University’s history.

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at