By CBS Baltimore Staff

(WJZ)- The Ravens announced Thursday that owner Stephen Bisciotti and his wife Renee are making a $4 million donation to Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create a scholarship fund that recognizes former general manager Ozzie Newsome. Dubbed the Ozzie Newsome Scholarship Program, the scholarships will go to graduates of Baltimore City public schools who attend an HBCU in Maryland.

“The brilliance of Ozzie Newsome extends far beyond his accolades as a player and executive,” Bisciotti said in a statement. “Throughout his entire life, Ozzie has inspired and uplifted everyone around him with his leadership, humility and determination. We hope that Ozzie’s example will inspire each of the Newsome scholars.”

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Newsome became the NFL’s first Black general manager when he took the reins for the new franchise in 2002. He told the team’s website that he is “honored” to have been recognized by the Bisciottis in this way.

“I am humbled and honored that Steve and Renee Bisciotti chose to associate my name with this tremendously important scholarship,” Newsome said. “This program will give many local graduates the ability to continue their education, and in turn will equip them with the necessary tools to make meaningful impact in the Baltimore community and beyond. These students will further their education through Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities, which is especially meaningful to me. I look forward to watching the progress made through this scholarship program.”

According to ESPN, Bisciotti’s inspiration for starting the scholarship program came after seeing the state’s four HBCUs reach a $577 million settlement with the state, ending a 15-year lawsuit over underfunding. The $4 million donation will be split evenly among the state’s four HBCUs: Bowie State, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

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The program will see each of those four schools choose five graduates from the city’s schools who will be named Ozzie Newsome Scholars as part of the incoming freshman classes.

CBS Baltimore Staff