Colorado State University Unveils Students First Scholarshipinitiative

Colorado State University’s first universitywide scholarship fund-raising initiative will be introduced to the public Oct. 24 at a special dessert reception for invited guests.

The Students First Scholarship Initiative is a five-year program designed to increase scholarship gifts from alumni, friends, corporations, organizations, associations and foundations to all existing and new scholarship funds. The reception, held as part of Family Weekend activities, will run 8- 9:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.

"Our overarching challenge now is to take Colorado State University to the next level…transforming our campus into a place that puts the needs and interests of students first," said Colorado State President Albert Yates.

"The Students First program is an exciting initiative that reflects the priority of students at Colorado State," said Keith Miser, vice president for Student Affairs. "This is a new dimension and a new direction to put students first and help them with their school and financial needs."

The silent phase of the Students First five-year fundraising initiative began in the 1995-96 academic year and continued through the 1996-97 academic year. Within that time, $6.9 million was raised in gifts for university, college and athletic scholarships. A goal of $15 million has been set for the end of the 2000-2001 academic year.

Funding generated by the Students First Scholarship Initiative will enable many students who have ability and desire to come to Colorado State and reach their educational goals.

"Colorado State University is often approached by corporations with scholarship opportunities where we must provide matching funds in order to receive the donation or gift. By increasing our funds available for matching, we can literally double the scholarship money available for our students," Miser said.

During the current academic year, one of the focus areas for increasing the number of special scholarship funds is the University Honors Program Scholarships for academically exceptional students.

"There is nothing more inspiring than to see a student grow in his or her ability to articulate complex issues over four years, come back from a year abroad fluent in Danish, or win a $14,000 Goldwater Scholarship due to research in a biochemistry lab begun as a freshman," said Colorado State Provost David Young. "The supportive environment provided by the University Honors Program helps students realize that they are good enough to compete with graduates from the other fine institutions of higher education in this country."

The Martin Luther King Jr. Graduate Scholarship Endowment is another of the many programs that will benefit from the Students First Initiative. The scholarship endowment was established at Colorado State in 1996. Devona Dixon, 1996 scholarship recipient and graduate student in individualized merchandising, believes the Students First Scholarship Initiative will help students like her continue their education.

"I’m the first one in my family who’s gone this far. I’m even the first one to go to college, let alone the first one to go for a master’s degree," Dixon said. "After I graduate, I want to have my own magazine for African-American teenage girls because they need something to look forward to that will help them realize their full potential."

For more information about the Students First Scholarship Initiative, contact Beth Hill in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at (970) 491- 5312.