Published: Aug. 17, 2022

Jim Shaw Chemical engineering students at CU Boulder have the opportunity to apply for a senior year scholarship inspired by alumnus James “Jim” Shaw’s own experience in his final year of undergraduate studies. 

“A scholarship in my senior year made an enormous difference, allowing me to graduate without student debt,” Shaw says. “I want to similarly help a senior each year. I know from experience that a little help can go a long way.”

When Shaw (MChemBioEngr'71) received his senior year funding in 1969, he had recently transferred from the Coast Guard Academy to Oregon State University and married. A scholarship helped him and his wife finish college in four years. In 1970, they headed to CU Boulder for his graduate work in chemical engineering. 

“CU Engineering has treated me well from the beginning. So, when I can, I try to reciprocate,” Shaw adds. 

After completing a Master of Science in chemical engineering in 1971, Shaw worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — helping to establish engineering rules behind then-new Clean Air Act (1970) and Clean Water Act (1972). 

In 1974, he became environmental director of a mineral division of Union Pacific Corporation. He retired from industry work in 2015. 

Shaw first became a donor to CU Boulder the year after his graduation, and currently contributes to several areas at the university. His passions at CU include the College of Engineering and Applied Science, athletic programs and the marching band. As a planned giving donor, Shaw has arranged for his will to administer the James W. Shaw Scholarship in the future, enabling his legacy and impact to live on indefinitely.

Students can apply in their junior year for the James W. Shaw Scholarship through the CU Boulder scholarship application process. A scholarship committee will evaluate applications and select recipients. 

“If you are a really hard-working student, doing your best to set yourself up to make this world a better place, I want to be sure to help some of you,” Shaw says. “After all, the world is better when people help each other, and it feels great to give a hand to a CU student. Let me just say, if I’d won the lottery this year, I’d be giving even more to CU.”