Liz, '53, and Dick, '51, Cole helped launch the Early Fifties Endowed Scholarship.
The audacious plan to raise $1 million began as a casual conversation on a boat. A group of early 1950s alums, enjoying a lake cruise in June 1992 during their 40th Whitworth reunion, reminisced about the great times, friends and professors they'd known as students. Their discussion soon turned to the question "What can we do that would really enhance Whitworth in its mission to educate students' minds and hearts?" says Dick Cole, '51 (pictured with his wife, Liz, '53). "We talked about some kind of contribution that would have a lasting and even growing impact."
The alums formed the Early Fifties Fund Committee, comprising Cal Moxley, Virginia Ainley, Alice Scribner Power, Sue Holmes, Marie and Vernon Buckley, Glenna and Art Symons, and the Coles. The group decided to establish a pooled investment in which the principal remained intact and grew, and the yield of interest and dividends was distributed as scholarships to students with significant financial need.
"Our initial goal was to raise $200,000, but Paul Viren, '78 (Whitworth's then-director of alumni relations), challenged us to think bigger and choose the goal of $1 million," Dick Cole says. The group accepted Viren's challenge and sent an appeal to fellow graduates from 1950-54. "They responded generously," Cole says.
An Early Fifties Endowed Scholarship helped Anya Krmpotich, '12, complete her B.A. degree in biology and Spanish.
The Early Fifties Endowed Scholarship donors – 154 alums and their spouses – not only reached their ambitious goal in December 2012; they exceeded it. The fund currently stands at nearly $1.1 million. To date, $368,509 in scholarships has been distributed to 90 deeply grateful students, many of whom could not meet tuition costs without the alums' support.
"We want to encourage other alumni groups to establish their own special endowment fund to help future generations of students have the Whitworth experience," Cole says.
What Whitworth group is special to you? Get the gang together and start an endowed scholarship to honor your past and support students' futures.
To learn how to endow a scholarship at Whitworth, visit www.whitworth.edu/endowedscholarships. Or contact Nancy Rau, '01, associate director of donor relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509.777.4250.
Read about two Early Fifties Endowed Scholarship recipients and to view a list of donors to the fund.