Barack Obama (AP file photo)

Occidental College recently announced the launch of its Barack Obama Scholars Program, saying the full scholarships to be offered will “empower exceptional students committed to the public good” consistent with “the principles President Barack Obama has advanced throughout his life.”

Beginning in the fall of 2018, Occidental will endow two scholarships with the support of donors and thereafter “ramp up to 20 scholarships for a select group of students, providing a singular liberal arts education designed to equip them to bring about meaningful change in the world,” Occidental said in a statement.

It said that prior to this week’s launch, Oxy raised $7 million from a wide range of generous supporters drawn from alumni and friends of the College. The program represents Occidental’s investment “in students who aspire to become change agents but lack the opportunity to fully realize their goals,” the statement said.

Each Obama Scholar will be awarded a four-year scholarship, providing loan-free funding for the entire cost of an Occidental education, in addition to summer enrichment programs.

The Occidental statement included remarks from Obama, a member of the Occidental College Class of 1983.

“My years at Occidental College sparked my interest in social and political causes, and filled me with the idea that my voice could make a difference,” Obama said. “And throughout my time in public service, I’ve tried to use my voice to bring people together, in common effort, around the idea that we could give every young person in America the chance that America gave me.

That’s why I’m so humbled by the Barack Obama Scholars Program at Oxy, and proud of its mission to identify promising young people from all backgrounds — with an emphasis on first-generation students, our veterans, and community college transfers — not only to give them access to higher education, but to train the next generation of leaders and active citizens, and fill them with the conviction that they too can change the world.”

Occidental College President Jonathan Veitch said in response that the school’s staff is “delighted to have President Obama’s support for a program that has such potential to have a far-reaching impact in the public sphere. Occidental will prepare its Obama Scholars to become agents of change in keeping with the spirit and legacy of President Obama’s historic presidency.”

The Obama Scholars Program will recruit students from all backgrounds and provide them with complete support, including tuition, room and board, and summer travel programs, the statement said.