GIA releases endowment money for scholarships

The Gemological Institute of America’s Board of Governors has released $65,000 from the Institute’s Endowment Fund to provide scholarships for five on campus Graduate Gemologist students in 2006.

Funds for the scholarships were generated from the interest earned in the GIA Endowment Fund. It is the first disbursement in the initial $75-million campaign, said Linda Ellis Harmeling, vice president and chief development officer. To date, the fund is valued at $58 million.

“We chose to release the funds in response to the vital need for scholarships for qualified students who cannot afford to attend otherwise. A major element of our mission of service is to be the pre-eminent resource for education,” said Ralph Destino, GIA board chairman. “One of the most important motives in creating an Endowment Fund at GIA was to provide scholarships for deserving people who want to study gemology.”

GIA awarded 23 scholarships valued at nearly $100,000 for the 2005 school year.

“Everyone benefits with the availability of more scholarships,” said Brook Ellis, vice president of GIA Education. “We will be able to attract a broad range of students who otherwise could only dream of entering our industry.”

The number of annual scholarships awarded from the fund, which is directly related to the fund’s growth and overall performance, will vary, Destino said.

The annual GIA scholarship application process runs from June 15 to Oct. 15. Winners are announced in January.

U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or those with non-temporary U.S. visas are eligible to apply. Applicants must be at least 17 years old, have a high school diploma or GED equivalency, and either work in the jewelry industry or plan to enter it after completing their studies. For more information about how to apply, call 760-603-4001, or e-mail Visit

To learn how to contribute to the Endowment Fund, contact Jane Lynch at 760-603-4114 or Jerry Buckley at 760-603-4188.

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