As a Westhampton College student in the 1930s, Gertrude Murrel duPont (Howland) was upset that some of her classmates could not attend cultural events that she enjoyed because of financial reasons. She established the duPont Fund in the 1950s, which is still in effect today, to allow financially restricted students to enjoy cultural events.
Through the duPont Fund, students at University of Richmond who receive need-based financial aid are eligible to be reimbursed for up to four cultural events per academic year. Events in Richmond or within 100 miles of Richmond qualify.
Reimbursement funds are provided for a cost equal to the lowest-priced ticket of the event. Students are allowed to purchase higher priced tickets, but would not be fully reimbursed in that case.
Last year, students used $14,220.70 of the fund to attend 184 events, said Anthony Crenshaw, assistant director of student organizations and leadership development. The most popular events students attended included the French Film Festival, "Les Miserables" and "Swan Lake," performed by the Richmond Ballet.
"Overall, I think it's a really great program, and I'm glad we have it," said senior Radha Zanzal. "I just wish more people knew about what the requirements were and who is eligible."
Zanzal has used the fund to attend the French Film Festival for the past two years, as well as Broadway productions such as "Wicked."
At the beginning of each academic year, the Office of Financial Aid sends the Office of Student Activities a list of students who are eligible to use the duPont Fund. Student Activities then sends an email that explains the process to the eligible students.
"I've gotten the email every year I've been at Richmond but I haven't used it until now," junior Camille Pittman said. "Which was silly because I've had a lot of classes I've had to go to performances for and I could have been getting reimbursed."
Pittman first used the fund to see the English adaptation of the play "Tartuffe" by Moliere for her 400-level French class.
Students who qualify must fill out the online duPont Fund request form before attending the cultural event and bring the ticket stub to the Student Activities office within 30 days of the event to get the full reimbursement.
"I think it's sad that not a lot of people know about it, and that you have to be proactive to take full advantage of it," Zanzal said.
Any money not used in a given year goes to the arts department in Modlin, Crenshaw said.
Editor's Note: It was incorrectly reported that students used $214,220.17 of the duPont Fund to attend 184 events. The students only used $14,220.17 of the fund.
Contact reporter Danielle Schweizer at email@example.com