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Marshall University alumnus Jim Smith and wife Pam Kushmerick gift additional $2 million to support second co-hort of Marshall For All students

Marshall University has announced a gift of $2 million from alumnus and current Board of Governors member Jim Smith and his wife Pam Kushmerick to support the second co-hort of Marshall For All students for the fall of 2024.

Smith and Kushmerick donated $2 million in March of 2023 to help fund the inaugural co-hort of Marshall For All students in the fall of 2023.

The gift was announced during Marshall’s Board of Governors meeting on June 12. President Brad D. Smith said gifts such as these are essential to the success of Marshall For All.

“Jim and Pam are changing lives and writing history with their incredible gifts to our institution,” Smith said. “They are helping the next generation create their own Marshall moments.”

The Marshall For All program allows Marshall students to combine scholarships, grants, work opportunities and family contributions to earn their bachelor’s degree without needing student loans, which will allow students to graduate with little to no debt. To qualify, students will need to complete a FAFSA annually and commit to actions such as graduating on time, pursuing work opportunities and participating in financial literacy programs.

The program, announced by Marshall University President Brad D. Smith in 2022, launched last fall with new first-year West Virginians and metro area students with great success. The university will expand the program over the next decade with the goal of relieving student debt for all Marshall students by 2037.

“The first 100 Marshall For All students have proven that by Marshall removing a financial barrier and providing wrap-around support services, the university’s students of greatest need are showing higher grade point averages and are being retained in college at rates higher than their peers who are not in the program,” said Ginny Painter, Marshall’s chief of staff. “Ultimately, this means higher graduation rates, improved economic prospects for individuals, and economic benefits for the region through a better-educated workforce.”

Jim Smith is the former president and CEO of information and media giant Thomson Reuters. He is a 1981 graduate of Marshall, which he attended on a football scholarship. Smith has been inducted into Marshall’s College of Business Hall of Fame and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters by the university.

Smith spent more than three decades with the Thomson organization, starting in a newsroom and ending as president and CEO from 2012-20. Today he chairs the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a London-based charity focused on media freedom, the rule of law and access to justice.

He was appointed to the Marshall University Board of Governors by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in 2022. He also serves on the Board of Directors at Pfizer in New York and is a trustee of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the $4 million Smith and Kushmerick have given toward the Marshall For All program, they also donated $150,000 in 2019 toward scholarships, the John Deaver Drinko Academy, and the Marshall Collegiate Recovery Program, and have given generously to the Big Green Scholarship Foundation.

“Jim and Pam’s generosity marks a pivotal moment for Marshall,” said Dr. Ron Area, CEO of the Marshall University Foundation. “Their gifts will revolutionize our university. We’re deeply grateful for their vision and commitment to making Marshall a better place for everyone.”

To learn more about the Marshall For All program, visit