New Scholarships at the University of Pennsylvania Seek to Boost Diversity in City Planning

The department of city and regional planning in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania has established the Moelis Scholars program that is open to African American and Latinx students who are thinking about pursuing careers in housing and community and economic development. Eboni Senai Hawkins and Sean Dajour Smith are the Weitzman School’s first Moelis Scholars.

Moelis Scholars get a range of support, including two years of tuition remission, a research stipend, help finding paid summer internships, funding to attend the annual National Planning Conference, and a year’s membership in the American Planning Association after they finish the master’s program. The goal is not just to bring people from a range of backgrounds into the planning discipline, but to help them find a way into the private development world.

Ron Moelis, CEO and founding partner of L+M Development Partners and the primary supporter of the new fellowship program, explains his reasons for establishing the new program by stating that “the best way to cultivate innovative and smart thinking is by having diversity of thought. Diversity of thought is created by bringing a wide range of experiences, views, and values to the table. By comparing and contrasting these differences, some really original ideas can be born and brought to the forefront.”

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