The Howley College Scholars Program
Creating Pathways Toward a Debt-Free Graduation
The Howley Foundation, in partnership with Drexel University, has established the Howley College Scholars Program: an initiative providing up to five promising graduates of West Catholic Preparatory High School per year the opportunity to receive a top-tier undergraduate education without incurring any out-of-pocket costs.
“With this visionary support, the Howley Foundation is helping to reinvent the way that Drexel engages students in our West Philadelphia community,” said John Fry, Drexel president. “We are eager to join with West Catholic to identify the inaugural group of Howley College Scholars. We thank the Howley family for their inspiring dedication to increasing access to education.”
Providing a pipeline for ambitious West Catholic Students to attend Drexel, the Howley College Scholars Program will provide partial funding from the Howley Foundation with additional support directly from the University to cover all tuition, fees and room and board costs throughout students’ five years at Drexel. Led by W. Nicholas (Nick) Howley ’75, his wife Lorie and their daughter Meg Howley ’10, the foundation has made a commitment to sponsor five initial cohorts of Scholars.
Students will be selected based on a strong track record of demonstrated academic success, and a commitment to major in either engineering, finance or accounting – with a preference for aspiring engineers.
"I am thrilled to see the partnership between West Catholic Prep, Drexel University and the Howley Foundation come to fruition,” said Andrew Brady, president of West Catholic, of the emerging program. “This pathway not only provides our students with the potential opportunity for a full scholarship to Drexel University, it allows them to have greater opportunity to pursue their passions in critical fields that have historically been lacking in diversity. We are grateful for the support and collaboration of Drexel and the Howley Family Foundation and look forward to continuing to work together to provide our students with a pathway to become leaders in the fields of engineering, finance and accounting.”
The Howley College Scholars Program expands a longstanding record of collaboration between Drexel and West Catholic. In 2014, the two institutions joined to launch an Engineering Technology Academy at West Catholic, designed to give students a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to learning basic engineering skills throughout their high school years. Bolstering this connection, West Catholic and Drexel’s respective chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers have an ongoing history of closely working together. Furthermore, the University has shared practice space at its Vidas Athletic Complex with the high school’s football team.
In coming years, Drexel’s College of Engineering and West Catholic will implement a comprehensive recruitment plan to encourage student participation in the Howley College Scholars Program. West Catholic’s students will benefit from field trips to tour the University’s labs and meet faculty, free attendance at Drexel Engineering events, and outreach from Drexel’s student associations and staff.
Having a bachelor’s degree can make all the difference in the trajectory of a young person’s life. Through the Howley Foundation, our family is proud to open doors for students from low-income backgrounds to not only attend college, but to focus on their studies rather than their expenses.
“Developing opportunities and resources for historically underrepresented groups to join the engineering profession is a critical priority for our College,” described Sharon L. Walker, dean of the College of Engineering and Distinguished Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering. “Drexel’s meaningful partnership with the Howley family to date has already resulted in much-needed scholarship funding for our students. It will be truly exciting to see how the expansion of our existing relationships with West Catholic and the Howleys will help us build a diverse, talented workforce who will engineer change in the world.”
Lorie Howley, Nick Howley ’75 and Meg Howley ’10
Nick Howley is the co-founder and board chairman of TransDigm Group Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed company, global designer, producer and supplier of highly engineered aircraft components, systems and subsystems which employs approximately 20,000 people across 100 manufacturing locations around the world. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Mr. Howley is also a founder and co-chairman of Perimeter Solutions: a New York Stock Exchange listed company that is the world leader in forest fire control. In addition to co-founding and serving as trustee of the Howley Foundation, Mr. Howley’s extensive nonprofit experience includes service on the boards of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Saint Martin de Porres High School (Cleveland) and the Cristo Rey Network Board – a collection of 40 Catholic, college preparatory schools that serve more than 14,000 economically disadvantaged students across 21 states.
Mr. Howley previously facilitated scholarship support for Drexel students through the Doug Peacock Scholarship, a fund supported by TransDigm and named in tribute to Mr. Howley’s late TransDigm co-founder. Launched in the 2020–2021 academic year, 30 Doug Peacock Scholarship awards have been presented to students in the College of Engineering and Bennett S. LeBow College of Business to date.
Lorie Howley holds a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture and a master’s degree in communication arts, both from Cornell University. She applied this experience during a 15-year tenure as an educator at Longwood Gardens, where she developed and taught programs in post-secondary and continuing education. A co-founder and current trustee of the Howley Foundation, Mrs. Howley served as the foundation’s executive director from 2001 to 2013.
Meg Howley serves as Executive Director of the Howley Foundation’s Philadelphia operations. In addition to earning a master’s degree in psychology from Drexel, she holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a master’s in school psychology and educational specialist certification from Rowan University. Prior to her current role with the foundation, she provided early intervention services to cognitively impaired students in preschools in the Philadelphia area.
The Howley Foundation’s mission is to create social and economic mobility and improve lives through high-quality educational opportunities. Founded by Nick and Lorie Howley in 2001, the foundation supports programming from elementary schools through the collegiate level, with an emphasis on serving students in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio.
“Having a bachelor’s degree can make all the difference in the trajectory of a young person’s life,” shared Nick Howley. “Through the Howley Foundation, our family is proud to open doors for students from low-income backgrounds to not only attend college, but to focus on their studies rather than their expenses. Lorie, Meg and I are excited to partner with West Catholic and Drexel to expand access to unparalleled educational experiences.”
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Photo at top of page: (From left) West Catholic Director of Institutional Advancement Theresa Malandra, West Catholic President Andrew Brady, Nick Howley ’75, Lorie Howley, Meg Howley ’10, and President John Fry with a proclamation signed in November 2022, formally commemorating the launch of the Howley Scholars Program.