Walter Scott Jr.’s final donation expands scholarship program

Piper Russell

1953 alumnus Walter Scott Jr. meets with scholarship recipients March 19. Photo courtesy of John Eisele for Colorado State University Photography.

Walter Scott Jr. expanded the Scott Scholars program for undergraduate students in the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering by giving an additional $11.4 million over the next 10 years through his foundation prior to his death Sept. 25. This brings Scott Jr.’s total giving to Colorado State University to $64.2 million.

According to CSU SOURCE, students in the program will receive as much as “$22,000 per year toward tuition, housing and meals” beginning in the current academic year. All current students in the program will move “to the same level of award starting next academic year,” and for some, the change will result in $16,000 more per year.

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The Scott Scholars tend to be a diverse group of students, which means the scholarship is not only helping CSU attract some of the best and brightest students but also helping us create an engineering student body that is more diverse, and this is beneficial not just to the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering but to all of CSU.” –Susan Benzel, professor of practice in the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering. 

“It’s really just a massive gift and investment in me, so I was super grateful,” said Hayley Stern, a first-year biomedical engineering student. “I really wanted to call my family and tell them.”

The additional funding will allow more students acceptance into the program. There will now be 25 new Scott Scholars per first-year class as opposed to 20 in past years. CSU will be able to support 110 Scott Scholars per year compared to 80 in past years.

“For many students who receive the Scott Scholarship, this award will make the difference for them in being able to attend CSU,” said Susan Benzel, professor of practice in the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering. “The Scott Scholars tend to be a diverse group of students, which means the scholarship is not only helping CSU attract some of the best and brightest students but also helping us create an engineering student body that is more diverse, and this is beneficial not just to the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering but to all of CSU.”

The Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation will also provide funding for enrichment programs for Scott Scholars, totaling $8,000 per student throughout their CSU education.

Further, the Scott Foundation will also provide $5 million over the next 10 years to fund “high-impact research areas to be identified by the college,” according to SOURCE. The Scott Foundation specified that the funded research programs should include opportunities for Scott Scholars.

Benzel spoke about how the Scott Foundation’s gifts benefit all students in the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering, not only scholarship recipients.

“Programming for the Scott Scholars is often extended to first-generation engineering students and to the broader engineering student body,” Benzel said. “Students impacted by these programs hopefully carry the positive effects well beyond the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering and CSU.” 

Scott Jr. began providing student scholarships in 1983, and established the Scott Scholars program in 2017, according to SOURCE. 

“Walter (Scott Jr.) knew CSU and the College of Engineering share his passion for providing all students with the tools to be successful and give back, and he knew CSU would be the type of partner he was looking for to provide students with a strong, world-class engineering education,” Benzel said.

“I think it is probably the best opportunity I’ve ever been given in my life,” Stern said. “I am incredibly grateful to everyone who worked on it.”

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Reach Piper Russell at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PiperRussell10.