Graduate Communications Scholarship a First

Donna Vocate (MA ’77, PhD ’80) grew up on a farm in Kansas. A bright student, she was encouraged by all her teachers to continue her studies. After a fortuitous family move to Denver, she earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I didn’t have the money to keep going,” said Vocate, “so I went to work for Hertz.” An employee benefit program at the company enabled her to complete her master’s at the University of Denver.

“It took a while,” she said. “I could only leave the office for one class at a time.” Vocate left Hertz, obtained her PhD and went on to have a successful career as a professor and academic department head. Upon learning that no graduate scholarships existed in DU’s Department of Communication Studies, she was inspired to support future students through the Donna & Gilbert Vocate Endowed Scholarship Fund. The University matched her legacy gift with Momentum Challenge funds that were put to immediate use. Jean Duane, the first recipient, researches the social aspects of food allergies for her PhD. “The scholarship validated my work,” said Duane. “It motivates me to do the very best I can to bring this information into the world.”