Three Clarendon Scholars at anniversary event

Clarendon Scholars Program Receives $1.49 Million Endowment Gift 

At a 20th anniversary celebration this weekend, Clarendon Scholars program director Yicaury Melo ’09 announced the receipt of an anonymous $1.49 million gift toward endowing the program. This gift, given by a Gordon alum, is one of the largest to Gordon this year and the largest to the Clarendon program in the College’s history. It undergirds the College’s renewed commitment to the program, which is specifically designed to equip students from urban areas to lead in their communities.  

“It is such an honor to celebrate 20 years of this special program—and this generous $1.49 million gift to strengthen it for the future—with so many esteemed alumni. The Clarendon Scholars program embodies Gordon’s central values of service and leadership, of loving our neighbors and working for the good of our cities and communities,” says President Michael Hammond. “Thanks to the generosity of this donor, more students can continue to be welcomed into this transformational community and can, in turn, return to the city and serve in transformational ways. The donor’s commitment to this important work echoes an institutional commitment, and we are grateful.”

The 20th anniversary event brought together more than 100 guests, including President Hammond and many program alumni and donors, to celebrate the program’s history and future. Guests heard from several current Clarendon Scholars, including David Edwards ’26 and Kyla Lange ’24; program alumni Annery Miranda ’09 and Noah Galiffi-Caster ’21; and one of the program’s early directors, Martha Vedrine ’97/98. This celebration was a testament to the enduring legacy of  Clarendon and the contributions of all who have been a part of the Clarendon community. 

“As an alumna of the Clarendon program and now the director, I have seen firsthand over and over again the impact that this program has not just on students but on the urban contexts where they return to serve, and how it has impacted Gordon as an institution,” says Melo. “I am so grateful for the generosity of this anonymous donor whose support will help secure the Clarendon program so that many more students can be part of this life-changing cohort in the future.” Endowment funds provide long-term support for student scholarships and program costs, helping to secure the program in perpetuity.  

Melo (front row, second from left) with a group of Clarendon Scholars alumni

20 Years of Commitment to the City 

Since its inception in the 2003–04 academic year, the Clarendon Scholars program has equipped hundreds of students from diverse cities to lead and serve in urban areas around the world. The program was originally launched as the New City Scholars under the leadership of Dr. Nicolas Rowe, in partnership with the Boston Higher Education Resource Center (HERC) of the Emmanuel Gospel Center (EGC). After fully adopting the program, Gordon College renamed it after the Clarendon Street Church in Boston, where founder A. J. Gordon pastored before starting the College. Since 2020 the Clarendon Scholars program has been led by Lawrence, MA, native Yicaury Melo ’09, the first program alumna to serve as director.  

Over its 20-year history the Clarendon Scholars program has retained a foundational focus on personal growth, reconciliation, community engagement, urban leadership and professional development. Students are admitted to the program as part of the admissions process and enter into a four-year experience as part of a 12- to 15-person cohort. In addition to a generous scholarship, the program offers several co-curricular experiential learning opportunities, including retreats, workshops, paid summer internships, senior thesis projects and other honors programming. 

Clarendon students delve into topics of cultural identity and intersectionality between race, culture and privilege, with a focus on reconciliation and healing. Toward the goal of leading in an urban context, students gain tools to connect their skills to needs and opportunities that exist in urban settings, including business, education, the arts,  community organizations, healthcare, politics, ministry and more. Within the context of their cohort and through outreach and service opportunities, students deepen their understanding of community (one of the biggest assets in an urban context) and the importance of engagement. 

Graduates of the Clarendon Scholars program have gone on to make an impact around the world, including as immigration attorneys, internationally recognized artists and educators in major cities.