Roberta Ma Scholarship
The Roberta M. Ma Fund was established, through the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc., in September 1985 by friends of Roberta Ma and the officers of Koinonia Agapes, Inc. At the request of the donors, the Fund was transferred to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., in February 2001. Spendable income from the Roberta M. Ma Fund provides scholarships and other forms of assistance to international students.
Dr. Roberta M. Ma was born in China. She came to the United States in 1924 to attend the University of Texas, where she received a B.A. and and M.A. in botany, and later a Ph.D. in plant physiology. After returning to China to teach at various universities, Dr. Ma returned to the United States in 1938, eventually becoming a biochemist researcher for the FDA.
In 1960, Dr. Ma first opened her Maryland home to international students from the University of Maryland. She provided these young people a place to gather, share meals, and celebrate. Dr. Ma's residence became a home away from home for the international students. This evolving international fellowship group was transformed into a non-profit organization in 1963 and named Koinonia Agapes, Inc., which is Greek for "Fellowship of Love." As the number of participants grew, it became apparent that Dr. Ma's home was no longer a sufficient gathering place and that a larger meeting site was needed. In 1966, Dr. Ma purchased property near Route 1 in College Park, Maryland with the intention of building an international fellowship hall that could accommodate 50-90 students.
Unfortunately, Dr. Ma passed away on December 30, 1975, before the center could become a reality. The Board Members of Koinonia Agapes, Inc. decided that an international student scholarship would fulfill Dr. Ma's dream of building international understanding and contributing to the achievement of world peace by assisting international students.
The Roberta Ma Scholarship is awarded annually to international students meeting the academic qualifications and possessing a demonstrated financial need.