New Scholars Program Introduced at University of Memphis

Alum Weil Funds What Could Be Largest Academics-Focused Gift Ever to UofM

Weil Scholars logo

April 9, 2024 — The University of Memphis will introduce a new scholarship program aimed at rewarding top-tier academic performance thanks to the generosity of Memphis philanthropist and UofM alum Burton Weil. 

The signature initiative will attract top-performing students from across the nation with a demonstrated history of academic excellence to the UofM. Supporting the efforts of these students is essential to maintaining the University’s R1 status.

The creation of the Weil Scholars Program has the potential to grow into one of the largest charitable gifts in UofM history. Unlike other scholarship initiatives at the University of Memphis, the Weil Scholars Program will offer funding opportunities to undergraduate students, graduate students and students at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law who have gone above and beyond in their studies. Students must achieve a certain grade point average and college entry test score to be accepted into the program. 

Part of the significance of the Weil Scholars program is that, historically, up to 90 percent of University of Memphis graduates remain in the Memphis community following graduation. Providing more funding and research opportunities for these students at the UofM directly impacts the city as these top graduates become future leaders in the community.  

“The Weil Scholars Program will help the UofM compete for outstanding undergraduate students in competitive fields of study, as well as secure top candidates for research intensive Graduate programs,” said Dr. Abby Parrill, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Thanks to the Weil Scholars program, these high-caliber students will have access to the most competitive funding offers, and resources to support their leadership and development on campus. The exceptional students recruited into this enticing program will enhance the UofM’s competitive reputation for excellence.” 

Initial plans call for 24 incoming first-year students, 20 graduate students and four law students at the University of Memphis, plus four medical students at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to be selected as part of the inaugural cohorts this fall. Students selected to be part of the Weil Scholars program will receive renewable academic scholarships to help cover tuition and fee costs through completion of their degree programs. Top-performing Masters and Doctoral students will be selected from applicants in the areas of biomedical engineering, business administration, computer science, data science, engineering or public health.  

Burton Weil

“The breadth and depth of this program’s reach will have a lasting impact on the UofM and will elevate our national recruitment efforts,” said University President Bill Hardgrave. “The Weil Scholars Program encourages students who are passionate about innovation and leadership to choose the UofM. This initiative, which supports the pillars of our strategic plan, will be instrumental as we continue to distinguish the University of Memphis as a nationally recognized R1 research institution.” 

Through the creation of the Burton Weil Family Foundation in 2022, Weil aims to inspire other members of the community to consider philanthropic causes. Through the foundation, he can formalize his giving and identify opportunities for investing in programs that make a tangible impact on the community.

Weil earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Memphis in 1966, and his law degree from Vanderbilt University. He later founded Venture Associates Partners, a private equity firm. He established the Burton Weil Family Foundation at the Jewish Foundation, which will fund the Weil Scholars Programs. Weil said he created the Weil Scholars Program because of his desire to help strengthen the City of Memphis by empowering its future leaders through the University of Memphis. 

“It’s a privilege for me to help these outstanding students by providing them with the financial support they need so they can develop their talents and pursue their passions,” said Weil. “It is my hope that they will grow to love Memphis as much as I do.” 

To learn more about the Weil Scholars Program, visit memphis.edu/weilscholars/.

Burton Weil photo credit: Greg Campbell


Jennifer Godwin
Director of Media & Public Relations
(o) 901.678.4822
(m) 501.529.7482

Share this article