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Wharton's new fellowship program will cover full tuition for one MBA student who is a leader in the LGBTQIA+ community. Credit: Chase Sutton

A new Wharton fellowship program — the first of its kind — will cover the full $149,000 tuition for one MBA student who is a member and leader of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The Prism Fellowship covers the full cost of Wharton’s two-year, full-time MBA program for a student that demonstrates leadership in the LGBTQIA+ community, according to the Wharton press release on June 1, the first day of National Pride Month. The fellowship, which will be awarded annually to one admitted MBA student, was established by 1984 Wharton graduate Jeffrey Schoenfeld and was awarded to incoming first-year MBA student Colan Wang. 

Schoenfeld is a partner at the Brown Brothers Harriman investment firm, where he is the founding sponsor of its LGBTQ affinity group and oversees the firm's diversity and inclusion efforts. 

“I love the idea of Wharton distinguishing itself from top business schools by their commitment to a diversity and inclusion agenda and particularly by lifting up students and committing to an agenda that embraces LGBT rights and integration in business schools and business contexts beyond business schools,” Schoenfeld said.

Wang, the inaugural recipient of the fellowship, is currently a business consultant at TD Wealth and plans to major in business analytics at Wharton.

Blair Mannix, Director of Admissions for the Wharton MBA program, said the Wharton Fellowship Committee automatically considers applicants to the MBA program for the Prism Fellowship. Recipients are selected based on their leadership qualities, community impact, and personal essays submitted with their MBA application. 

Mannix said it was an easy decision to give Wang the fellowship because of his long history of volunteering for LGBTQ organizations and his passionate admissions essays.

Wang, who is from Toronto, has led the Gender Identity Evolution Management Project Initiative at TD Wealth for two years and has helped organize its first panel and networking event for members of the LGBTQ community. He also works with community organizations in Toronto aiming to help young people who identify as LGBTQ join the workforce. 

“[Being named the first Prism Fellow] felt surreal and it still feels surreal sometimes. I think it felt especially poignant because this is something that hasn’t been done by any other business school out there," Wang said.

The Wharton School aims to continue its support for student diversity in its programs, in addition to various cultural and affinity organizations, as well as Out4Biz, Wharton’s LGBT professional and social club. 

“We really hope that this fellowship continues to signal to the community that Wharton is the place for students in the LGBT community," Mannix said.  "And it is a place that values their contributions to our community.”