​Khan family establishes scholarship in son’s honor

The scholarship’s endowment will total more than $200,000


Khizr Khan announced a Bicentennial Scholarship in his son's name on the Rotunda steps Friday morning.

Kate Bellows | Cavalier Daily

Khizr and Ghazala Khan announced a Bicentennial Scholarship in memory of their son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, a 2000 graduate of the University, Friday morning on the steps of the Rotunda.

The Capt. Humayun Khan Memorial Scholarship, which is part of the Bicentennial Scholars Fund, will annually award $10,000 to a student in need who is either enrolled in ROTC or majoring in a field that studies the U.S. Constitution, such as political science or history.

Khan was killed June 8, 2004, in Iraq, when he stopped a taxi filled with explosives from entering a compound where many American soldiers were eating breakfast. The driver detonated his bombs at the checkpoint Khan was inspecting, killing Khan and two Iraqi civilians.

The scholarship will be funded by the Khan family, with a lead gift from alumnus Richard Clemens, who graduated from the College in 1962 and the Law School in 1965, and additional support from others, as well as matching funds from the Strategic Investment Fund. The endowment will exceed $200,000.

“The Bicentennial Scholars Fund was established by the University’s Board of Visitors ... [in] December of 2016 with the intention of creating a permanent source of funding for financial aid at the University,” Adrienne Gardner, Director of Major Gifts, said. “More than a third of undergraduate students now receive some kind of financial aid, and through the Strategic Investment Fund, the University has pledged $100 million in matching funds to incentivize alumni parents and friends to donate to scholarships. The idea is that we would raise a total of $300 million in permanent funding.”

At the announcement of the scholarship, Khizr Khan gave a few remarks with Ghazala Khan by his side.

“Today we honor him and his alma mater,” Khizr Khan said. “Today we honor his teachers and his mentors at Army ROTC, who turned an ordinary citizen into a patriot.”

In an interview with The Cavalier Daily, Khizr Khan said the family decided to establish the scholarship because they wanted to encourage future leaders.

“A student they are by title, but they’re future leaders,” Khizr Khan said. “We wanted them to know that we paid tribute to their future leadership. The idea of encouraging our future leaders by this reminder of these values that are so dear to us as a family, so dear to Captain Humayun Khan, means so very much.”

Khizr Khan said the University shaped his son’s character.

“When we dropped him off, we didn’t know what he’s coming to and what he would be,” Khizr Khan said. “But he learned everything that he displayed throughout his life — honor, courtesy, care for others, leadership, patriotism. Everything was learned here, on the Grounds, in the classroom, by the teachers that taught him, the teachers that were his mentors, friends, Army ROTC friends and mentors.”

In a statement, Vice President for Advancement Mark Luellen thanked the Khan family for their gift.

“Mr. and Mrs. Khan’s gift is a fitting tribute to their son’s legacy as a student of our University, a son who proudly served his country and gave his life for it,” Luellen said. “With this gift, the Khans are helping make a University of Virginia education — one of the best in the nation — accessible and affordable to deserving students who might not otherwise be able to attend our University. For decades to come, outstanding students with financial need will benefit from the support provided by the Capt. Humayun Khan Memorial Bicentennial Scholarship, honoring his memory in perpetuity.”

University President Teresa Sullivan also expressed her gratitude in a prepared statement.

“This scholarship created in honor of Capt. Khan is a powerful tribute to him and to the supreme sacrifice that he made while serving our nation,” Sullivan said. “We are grateful to the Khan family for this generous gift. It will provide essential support for U.Va. students while honoring the life, legacy and memory of Capt. Khan.”

Khizr Khan said he was grateful for the welcome his family receives when visiting the University.

“It’s a bittersweet reminder for us, but very dear to us,” Khizr Khan said. “And everyone we see, the students of the University of Virginia, whenever we see them, we see a little reflection of him in their honor, in their courtesy, in their dignity, a little bit of Captain Humayun Khan is reflected.”

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