The Christopher and Mary Hamilton Fund

Est. 2020 by Dr. Cheryl Hamilton.

The Hamiltons
Mary and Christopher Hamilton. Photos provided by family.

The Christopher and Mary Hamilton Fund of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven was established by retired OBGYN physician Dr. Cheryl Hamilton, in memory of her parents. Its purpose is to help minority students attend college without having the worry of accruing large amounts of student debt.

Growing up in the projects of New York City’s Lower East Side, Dr. Hamilton knew her parents were unable to pay for her college and medical school education. Her dad worked at Bellevue Hospital in the dietary department, where he prepared the meals that were eaten by hospital patients. Her mother first worked as a housekeeper, and later at Cornell in the Biology Department sterilizing equipment.

The creation of the fund occurred over time, said Dr. Hamilton. It was inspired, in part, by her brother, Chris Hamilton Jr, who worked at Hunter College in the Biology Department. While there, he saw firsthand how many students were challenged with the overwhelming costs that come with attending a four-year university and created the Black Faculty, Staff and Alumni Resource Exchange. When he retired in the 1990s, however, so did his fund.

Dr. Hamilton was fortunate to receive many scholarships and grants that made paying for college a bit easier and hopes that her fund will do the same for others. Her ultimate goal is to keep the cycle going, so that the students that she is able to help now, will in turn someday help the next generation pay for their college.