Nonie Lann (Jour’48) fell in love with CU Boulder as a 16-year-old freshman exploring campus by bike.
“Going to CU was one of the most important decisions I made in my life,” says Lann, who graduated early from high school and moved west on the recommendation of her family doctor. She was far from her New York home and knew her education was a heavy financial burden for her family.
“Some of my dearest friends in my entire life were friends I met at CU. I always felt like I wanted to repay the university for giving me those wonderful years.”
After graduation, she served in the U.S. Marine Corps, had a successful career in professional golf and settled in California.
In 1988, Lann established an endowed scholarship, which she contributes to each year and intends to continue to grow through a planned estate gift.
Lann sees her scholarship as a way to give back and stay connected. “All these years later, I am still part of the university.”
Connecting with students
When John Leach (Jour’74; MJour’79) read the thank-you letter from Makenna Sturgeon (Jour’19), he knew right where she was coming from. Sturgeon, a John Leach Journalism Scholarship recipient her senior year, opened the letter with an explanation of where her hometown—Rifle, Colorado—is located.
“I smiled as I read it because I grew up an hour away and could imagine myself writing something similar about my hometown of Grand Junction,” Leach says, explaining that his hometown also wasn’t well known when he entered college in 1970. “When we met for coffee, we laughed at how we both had found ourselves feeling the need to explain where we lived.”
While at CU, Leach received a four-year Regent Scholarship and a Society of Professional Journalists scholarship.
“My years in Boulder broadened my horizons, gave me marketable skills and were a turning point in my life,” says the former managing editor of The Arizona Republic, who is also a CMCI journalism lecturer and advisory board member. “I would not have been able to attend CU if I did not have those scholarships. I want to help today’s students have that same opportunity.”
He and several family members established the Leach Family Scholarship in 2002, and in 2008 he funded the John Leach Journalism Scholarship.
“I’ve met with every recipient to talk about their studies and experiences at CU and their plans for careers and lives after graduation,” Leach says. “In May, I had the pleasure of seeing three of my scholarship recipients graduate from CMCI.”
As Miller Pierce (Comm’15) was preparing to graduate, her parents, Jim and Dabney Pierce, endowed the Miller Dandridge Pierce Scholarship in her honor.
“I hope Miller is in the position someday to contribute to the scholarship fund so that it may have an even greater impact on the lives of others,” Jim says.
Today, Miller works as a special projects coordinator with the dating app Bumble. “I’m beyond thankful to my family for choosing to honor my years at CU in a way that gives back to the community,” she says.
CMCI Advisory Board member John Berg and his wife, Carol, also established a scholarship while their daughter, Annika Berg (StratComm’19), was a student.
“We saw how much she grew as a student and person during her time there, how much she enjoyed and was inspired by the curriculum in her major, and how important her academic performance became to her,” John says.
After graduation, Annika, who completed several internships while at CU, took an account coordinator position at Wicked Creative.
The Bergs recognized the challenge a new college has in establishing a base of scholarships to support students.
“We thought The Berg Family Scholarship would be a nice step in that direction,” John says. “Importantly, our daughter was very enthusiastic about this method of giving. Creating a scholarship is a rewarding thing that you can do with the whole family.”
Creating a CMCI scholarship
You can create an endowed—or perpetual—scholarship with a donation of $25,000 or more.
When establishing a scholarship, you are able to choose the name, set the criteria for awarding it and include biographical information or a personal statement for recipients to read. Each year, you will receive a letter from the student who was awarded your scholarship.
For more information on establishing a CMCI scholarship, contact Mary Beth Searles, assistant dean for advancement, via email or at 303-386-6170.
Alumni and friends who want to support scholarships at CMCI without establishing their own fund can donate to the General Scholarships Fund.