The Walton Family Foundation has awarded Colorado College a $10 million matching grant for high-need and first-generation students. The college’s goal is to match the grant with an additional $10 million from other donors, creating a $20 million infusion of new endowed scholarship funds over the next five years.
When this affordability initiative is fully funded, it will make significantly more scholarship funding available to students with high financial need and ensure that the college can continue to attract the best and the brightest, regardless of their ability to pay.
“This addition to our endowed financial aid will generate a dramatic and sustainable difference over time in what we can provide for prospective students,” said Richard F. Celeste, Colorado College president. “Scholarship support not only opens the door for many students who wish to attend CC, it gives them the freedom to focus more closely on their academics and pursue activities outside of class.”
Colorado College intends to use the grant to inspire other donors to join in helping to add to available scholarships. The grant comes in the final year of Celeste’s tenure; he announced in May that he will retire after June 30, 2011, completing nine years as president. Early in his presidency, he described a $300 million vision to build resources for student financial aid, faculty and campus projects.
The college awards $26 million in predominately need-based financial aid each year, with more than half of its students receiving some level of financial aid.
This is the third commitment of $10 million the college has received during Celeste’s tenure, bringing the total committed to the college since 2002 to about $180 million from alumni, parents, foundations and other college supporters.
Colorado College has received more than $2.3 million from the James W. Austin Charitable Remainder Unitrust, which will go toward a scholarship fund providing unrestricted financial aid. The donation is the single largest life income gift in the history of Colorado College.
The funds will establish the James W. and Esther Austin Scholarship Fund, in memory of Austin and his wife. James W. Austin graduated in 1929 from Colorado College with a degree in geology.
The gift to fund the Unitrust was originally made in 1993. Austin received monthly payments from his Unitrust until his death in 1997; payments then went to beneficiaries, the last of whom died in August 2009. The remaining principal and interest of the Unitrust will now go to Colorado College to establish the scholarship fund.
Austin was an alumni trustee at Colorado College from 1958-60. He was awarded CC’s Louis Benezet Award in 1991 for outstanding professional achievements.