In recent years, Colorado College has made great strides to increase access to students from all socio-economic backgrounds. The college offers nearly 400 scholarships now, and through Building on Originality: The Campaign for Colorado College, CC anticipates raising funds for another 180 scholarships.
For Will Smith ’74, giving back to help the students of today and tomorrow is “the right and proper thing to do.” Smith not only established an endowed scholarship fund through his estate plans, he issued a challenge to alumni and friends of the college to give back as well.
“It’s important for alumni to remember back to when we were students there and how wonderful it was. My whole point has been simply, don’t forget your roots and the education that gave you what you have today,” Smith says.
Smith committed $10 million to match estate and outright gifts of new or enhanced scholarships of $100,000 or more. Since the challenge was launched in 2015, 45 scholarships have been established or enhanced, totaling $15 million, not counting Smith’s commitment. The challenge will run through June 30, 2019.
Karen Pope ’70 also believes in giving back. An art historian whose career led her to teach at the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University, she says a chance encounter with History Professor Louis Geiger on the quad in her last days as a student at CC prompted her to apply for graduate school at Ohio State University, where she studied the history of 16th- and 17th-century European art. Pope earned a Ph.D. in 19th- and 20th-century art from the University of Texas at Austin.
As principal of Art inSight Inc., she’s led art history tours all over the world. This year, she’ll take tours to Milan and Amsterdam, and she fondly recalls her first art history tour with CC roommate Ann Sauer Donovan ’70.
“At the very end of my senior year, Ann asked me if I’d go to Europe with her. We did it, traveling all over Britain and western Europe during the first five months of 1971. It was the most invigorating, reinforcing experience possible for someone enthralled by art history, and I have recalled moments from that trip over and over again in classrooms in the years since,” she says.
Pope has served as an alumni volunteer and as a member of the Board of Trustees. She learned about the Scholarship 101 Challenge when she had received an inheritance from her parents. She endowed a scholarship in art history to benefit students with deep financial need, much like the Boettcher Scholarship once aided her.
“Without the Boettcher, I’d have attended a different undergraduate program, and there’s no telling whether I’d have discovered art history. I’m thankful for the scholarship that got me to CC and freed me to focus on the richness of a liberal arts education,” she says. “I want to help students and families find CC, and if students discover art history the way I did, I’d like to help them pursue that dream.”
She’ll celebrate the fulfillment of the scholarship at her 50th class reunion in 2020.
For Sean Pieri, vice president for advancement, gifts like Smith’s and Pope’s illustrate the strong connec- tions alumni have with CC.
Unfortunately, Colorado College must turn away qualified potential students because the college can’t meet their financial needs, Pieri says. If CC wants the best, most well-rounded students from all backgrounds, Pieri adds, we have to provide them with scholarships and financial aid.
“Giving is important during this transformative time in the college’s history. Now is a great time to be a part of it,” Pieri says.
Kerry Brooke Steere, director of annual giving, says that annual giving and financial aid are intrinsically linked.
“An area that’s accessible to the majority of alumni donors is the Fund for CC-Financial Aid. Donors who give to this fund will know that their money will go to students who have financial need,” Steere says.
“Small gifts really do add up. Gifts to the Fund for CC of $250 or less totaled nearly half a million dollars last year,” she says.