Veteran comedian Bill Cosby has given his alma mater the University of Massachusetts a huge boost by helping raise $1.5 million (GBP833,000) for local underprivileged students.

A bulk of the cash comes from a benefit concert which Cosby gave at the university on Friday (29OCT04).

Ticket sales and the price of admission to a pre-performance dinner generated $444,000 (GBP246,000), and university officials say individuals have contributed $541,000 (GBP300,500) to the Amherst campus for new scholarship funds. The state is matching the contribution with about $383,000 (GBP212,700). A $340,000 (GBP188,000) chunk was raised from Cosby's performance.

The cash will fund a new program aimed at giving scholarships to students from the poorer communities around the university.

Cosby, who received a master's degree and doctorate in education from the university in the 1970s, says, "We want to say this is a place that reaches out to people living in depressed areas. That this university has open arms for all Americans as a state school should."

He's hoping that students selected for the awards will teach in schools in economically depressed areas for at least two years after their graduation.

02/11/2004 21:12