By Published: Nov. 30, 2016

Meghan Dulsky was elated when she first learned that she was accepted to a study-abroad program. Later, unpon being informed that most of her experience would be funded, she was brought to tears.

Dulsky, a senior classics major at the University of Colorado Boulder, is the recipient of the Ann Nichols Scholarship and the Herodotus Travel Grant. Both awards are funded by donor Ann Nichols, whose patronage has benefited the department since 1971.

Meghan Dulsky

Meghan Dulsky

“She’s an amazing woman,” said Dulsky, “Through Ann Nichols’ generosity, I received both scholarships.” And Dulsky put the money to good use, embarking on an adventure fit for a “self-proclaimed history nerd.”

“When I was able to study at the University of Edinburgh, I was able to conduct research for my honors thesis, which I am very excited about,” said Dulsky.

Dulsky’s thesis examines the Roman presence in Scotland. She is particularly interested in the roles played by women, citing literature and archeological evidence that suggest some women may have held positions of power.

“I was able to take my passion for research to a level that I didn’t know existed,” she said.

But Dulsky is just one of many whose studies were highlighted at the 2016 College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship Celebration on Oct. 29. Students from across the college shared their achievements with scholarship donors and staff.

Toby Bollig

Toby Bollig

Toby Bollig is working to provide accessibility for handicapped faculty and students on campus; Natalie Bantis volunteers at Red Hawk Elementary School, seeking to close an education gap; Zhashki Strong takes her LSAT notecards to the park and reads a story to her son, every night.

These students came together to celebrate philanthropy and produced a palpable feeling of generosity that filled the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the University Memorial Center. A generosity which, in this case, has a face. Or, rather, many faces.

Take Steve Marks, for example, who continues to sponsor the T. Keith Marks Scholarship Fund, which was started by his father in 1975 and is awarded to students in geological sciences.


Zhashki Strong (left) poses with political science chair David Brown and Geneiveve Schneider at the scholarship celebration in October. Strong and Schneider are students who have received the Van Ek Political Science Scholarship.

“Geology and fishing were his passion,” said Marks, chuckling. When his father passed away in 2002, Marks and his mother began augmenting the scholarship fund. Even after his mother perished in 2015, Marks continued to build the scholarship founded in the name of his father.

“My family and I took it upon ourselves to really build this scholarship and make it special and make a difference in some students’ lives,” said Marks. Today, the scholarship supports a number of students in geological sciences at CU Boulder.

In her own words

“Without the university, and especially the Jacob Van Ek Scholarship, I would not be where I stand before you today. I might still be living paycheck to paycheck and working my minimum-wage job that made me miserable; I might still be living in a reality unaware of my talents and potential; I might still be wondering what I could do to provide a better life for my son.”

“But now, I have a vision. I will teach my son Blake that with hard work, ambition, and perseverance, adversity can be overcome. I will show Blake that as a male-minority in the country we live in today, that he can beat all odds and be successful. But above all, I will love Blake unconditionally and be able to provide him a life I never would have fathomed without the university and the Jacob Van Ek Scholarship.”

— Zhashki “Sasha” Strong, formally thanking the university and donors for helping her study at CU Boulder

“My dad was a big believer in education. It was a top, top priority,” said Marks, “He went here on scholarships and grants. He worked while he was in school. And he believed that those scholarships and opportunities that he had here at CU made his career what it was.”

Lauren Goldfarb, from Oregon, is a recipient of the T. Keith Marks Scholarship. She notes that out-of-state tuition greatly increases the cost of attending CU.

“If it wasn’t for scholarships, I wouldn’t be able to be here. It helps me get an education in such a great program,” said Goldfarb.

Indeed, it is increasingly difficult for students to get an education at top programs in the nation. Inflation-adjusted, in-state tuition, fees, room and board cost on average $8,307 in 1971-72 according to data published by the College Board. Today, that price has ballooned to $20,092 on average. CU’s Bursar’s Office estimates the cost for an out-of-state undergraduate like Goldfarb at $50,469 annually.

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Leigh said he wakes up every morning and thinks about student-loan debt—which now eclipses credit-card debt in the United States—and student achievement. He recognizes philanthropy as essential to student success in higher education.

“From the department perspective, we are extremely grateful for donors and their passion for supporting higher education,” said Shemin Ge, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences.

To support scholarships for arts and sciences students, please contact the CU Office of Advancement at 303-541-1451 or