The University of Massachusetts and Commonwealth Honors College are proud to announce a newly-established scholarship in support of children of veterans.
The Abraham Bohn Children of Veterans Scholarship endowment fund will support undergraduates who are children of deceased or disabled veterans as they work toward their degree at UMass. The endowed fund was established by Larry Bohn ’74 with a $1 million gift, plus $500,000 in incentives from the state.
“I just wanted to give back something in my dad's honor for kids in similar situations that have strong needs, have come from homes where people have sacrificed for the country, and where kids need a chance,” Larry said. “Someone gave me the chance, and I want to make sure that other people have that chance.”
“We are tremendously grateful to Larry for his investment in UMass Amherst’s commitment to accessibility. These scholarships will truly change lives now and for generations to come,” said Mari Castañeda, dean of Commonwealth Honors College, which will administer the fund.
The scholarship is named for Bohn’s father—a World War II airman shot down and held prisoner for eighteen months in a Romanian POW camp. Abraham Bohn returned to the United States with health problems, passing away when Larry was 17. Larry and his sister, Rhonda Bohn ’82, were able to attend UMass under support from the post-war GI Bill.
“I was able to go to UMass and develop a career because of the provisions of the veterans benefits,” Larry said. “When I went to UMass, I think it cost $1,500 for the whole year. And so the veterans' benefits completely paid for everything, including living expenses. So I was able to go and really not have to worry about paying my bills. Today, you can't do that. [The benefits] just doesn't pay enough.”
Massachusetts is home to over 300,000 former members of the United States Armed Forces, and the number of veterans’ children who want to attend college, but cannot afford to, is growing. Children of veterans who have died or are disabled face particularly difficult challenges in affording higher education.
“My hope is that students who receive this scholarship take a path similar to my brother and I, where you have an opportunity, and you take that opportunity and you run with it,” Rhonda Bohn said. “I hope the funds are used to help these students achieve their academic goals and, potentially, their career moving forward without the worry of funding.”
“The great thing about UMass is that it's the great democracy,” Larry said. “It's part of the land-grant universities. What's made this country is a great university system and the opportunity for people of very limited means to get a great college education.”
Larry Bohn currently serves as the managing director at General Catalyst, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage and growth developments. Rhonda Bohn serves as the owner and principal of Bohn Epidemiology, LLC.