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Supporting Underrepresented Students through Teacher Education

The Charles and Mildred Nilon Endowed Teacher Education Scholarship is proposed to support University of Colorado Boulder students who are pursuing teacher licensure and are committed to advancing educational opportunities in under-resourced schools, especially those that serve African American communities.

Dedicated and well-prepared teachers are the single most important ingredient to ensure a high-quality education, yet many CU students choose not to enter Teacher Education because of high tuition costs and the fear of low teacher pay.

Teacher licensure candidates at CU-Boulder bring to teaching both the challenging content expertise from their Arts and Sciences major and the extensive pedagogical preparation provided by the School of Education’s licensure programs. In addition, because of the school’s focus on social justice and equity, licensure graduates are well prepared to recognize and enhance the cultural resources that children bring with them to school.

Extending the Nilons’ Legacy

Professor Emeritus Charles Nilon (1916-1991) joined the English Department in1956 as the first black professor at CU-Boulder. Over the next several decades, he inspired countless students, colleagues, and community members from all backgrounds. Among many important contributions, he spearheaded the university’s first Black Studies program that grew into the current Department of Ethnic Studies.

Mildred Nilon (1920-) became the first black librarian at CU-Boulder in 1962. Over the next 25 years, she proceeded to become head of the Reference Department and the Assistant Director for Public Services.

Professor and Mrs. Nilon were beloved members of the CU-Boulder community who also effectively began a change in Boulder’s segregated housing pattern. Their belief in the importance of community and service is evidenced by their active participation in local groups such as the United Black Action Committee, the United Black Women of Boulder Valley (including Mrs. Nilon’s term as president), the Town and Country YWCA Board, the Mental Health Board, and Historic Boulder.

The endowed scholarship, named in honor of the Nilons’ impact on CU, the local community, and the experiences of underrepresented students, aims to support students who will extend their legacy by expanding opportunities for current and future generations of children in under-resourced schools.

“The Nilons had a way of connecting with students. When they saw you, they really saw you. They wanted you to know that just by being who you are, you deserved respect and opportunity."

- Dr. Thomas Windham, past student and friend of the Nilons.

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Ann Schlesinger

Office of Advancement, 303.492.9947

249 UCB Boulder, CO 80309