John Hinshaw (’92) pays it forward with new scholarship

A Pell grant recipient and son of two school teachers, Hinshaw juggled multiple jobs while at JMU, including a student position at Carrier Library, to help pay tuition.

John Hinshaw (’92) knows firsthand how important scholarships can be. The son of two school teachers, John knew his parents couldn’t afford to pay for his tuition.

“When I started back in the Fall of 1988, I was really excited to come to James Madison,” he remembered. “But ... I was paying my own way through.”

Hinshaw, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in computer information systems, has gone on to a successful career at Verizon Wireless, Boeing and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He is now the group chief operating officer and group managing director at HSBC in London, England.

Hinshaw juggled multiple jobs while at JMU, including a student position at Carrier Library. But it was a Pell grant—a federal grant still given today to undergraduate students with great financial need—that helped make his Madison Experience possible.

“It very much hit home with me,” Hinshaw said of the opportunity to provide scholarships to Pell-eligible students. “It reminded me of my own challenges: ‘How would I get through school? How would I pay for school?”

Today Pell grants are not enough. In fact, JMU loses one-third of Pell-eligible students because they can’t afford to come here without scholarships, according to Donna Harper, vice president for access and enrollment. “And JMU does not have the scholarships that other schools have,” she said. “Bottom line: Our national reputation as an academic institution has outpaced our resources, and it will take philanthropic funds to change that.”

That’s why Hinshaw has pledged $125,000 toward the Warden Match by starting a Dukes Pay It Forward Scholarship. He joins former co-CEO at SAP, Jennifer Morgan (’93), who first told Hinshaw of the opportunity and has started her own DPIF Scholarship with a $125,000 investment.

“I think we were given a lot by the education here and can really help the next generation as well,” Hinshaw said. “And so I think as we compete for students on a national basis, the ability to give them a scholarship makes a huge difference.”

Hinshaw and Morgan both realize their investments carry double the impact during the Warden Match, and they want to inspire others to make scholarship gifts, of any amount, to reach $1.25 million and ultimately help secure $2.5 million for scholarships.

“So I would ask all of our alums to really think about the benefit you got here. I bet you got more benefit, actually, than you expected to,” Hinshaw added. “And I think now's an opportunity to give back to help the next generation.”

“I struggled to get through school 33 years ago; others are coming now. And I'm fortunate to be able to help them out,” Hinshaw said. “And then in turn, as they graduate, get a great job, they'll help out the next generation. I love that pay-it-forward aspect [to these scholarships],” he added.

“And I'm really happy to join the Wardens in this scholarship challenge.”

—By Sarah Featherstone (’14)

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Published: Friday, October 1, 2021

Last Updated: Friday, October 1, 2021

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