Oprah Winfrey lands in Lowell, launches scholarship program

LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) - Oprah Winfrey brought down the house Thursday night at UMass Lowell.

The legendary talk-show host-turned-actress came to the university to launch the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship.

“When I heard that you were going to use it as a tool of service, me being here as a tool of service, to raise money for scholarships, I thought, that’s worth firing up the jet for. Let’s fire up the jet and get to Lowell,” Winfrey said.

The university raised $1.5 million through sponsorships and ticket sales for the more than 5,000 who came to see the media mogul.

“It is my honor to meet each of you,” Winfrey said. “I read each of your letters.”

Six students received the scholarship, and Oprah says their stories inspired her to do more.

“I would like to match the $1.5 million so that students like yourselves can continue in the path in the greatest, purest, truest expressions of themselves,” she said.

UMass senior Nick Abourizk was among the recipients.

He says Oprah’s message of staying true to who you are will stick with him.

“You need advice like this, and it makes you feel confident and more prepared to get further in what you want to do and things like this are possible,” Abourizk said.

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