Young Alumni Build Community Through Scholarship Program
A group of young alumni energized a successful scholarship program through their efforts to engage students, peers and others in the DU community.
The Young Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund launched a decade ago, in part through a gift from Craig Harrison (BSBA ’03), now a University of Denver trustee. Since then, the scholarship has been awarded annually to an outstanding junior or senior. The scholarship is awarded through a competitive application process with the intention of supporting the educational expenses of the student. This year, new leadership saw an opportunity to boost the scholarship’s impact.
“We want to develop a consistent community of participants that expands as students graduate and becomes a presence in the young alumni community,” said Dave Gebhardt, co-chair of the committee. “We hope it continues to be an opportunity for young alumni to give back and engage with the University.”
Gebhardt and the committee brought visibility to the scholarship by announcing the 2017 recipient, Meagan Traver (BSBA ’18), at a Pioneering Denver event. This speaker series showcases alumni entrepreneurs who are leading transformation in the city. At the event, Traver spoke about the impact of her scholarship. “I have over $20,000 in student loan debt from my first two years of DU,” said Traver. “The scholarship has allowed me to decline any more loans.”
“It was a great moment,” said Brian J. Elizardi (BA ’04, MA ’06), director of alumni engagement. “So often, the distance from gift to impact can be far. This allowed everyone who attended to see the impact of their philanthropy immediately.”
To increase support for the scholarship, the committee featured it at One Day for DU, the University’s largest annual giving event. They engaged 60 supporters and raised more than $7,000 thanks to a matching gift. The fund has grown so successfully, said Gebhardt, “we elected to give out two scholarships this fall. We wanted to show our appreciation for those who gave by giving a little bit more back.”