Former student-athletes give back to their alma mater, lifelong educators support tomorrow’s teachers, and community leaders strengthen ties with Oregon’s Rural University through Eastern Oregon University Foundation scholarships.
These funds and endowments from private donors will benefit more than 200 EOU students in 2020-21. In total, the EOU Foundation awarded nearly $700,000 in scholarships for the coming academic year, an all-time high.
“Scholarships make it possible for hundreds of EOU students to seek and complete their degrees at EOU,” said Patrick Regan, Executive Director of Philanthropy and the EOU Foundation. “For many, it may be the only way for them to afford the education they need to allow them to achieve a fulfilling career and be leaders in their communities.”
Serving the largest proportion of low-income and first-generation students among public universities in the state of Oregon, EOU’s mission includes providing a high-quality education that is both accessible and affordable.
Many of the people who contribute to scholarship funds received the same kind of help when they were students. Some donors give in honor of a loved one or a respected mentor they encountered at EOU.
Alumni like James Gorham or Herb and Linda Jolliff established scholarships that encourage students to enter a particular career field.
“Herb and Linda Jolliff set up an endowed scholarship specifically for students who want to pursue a career teaching math in rural Oregon,” Regan said. “Both Herb and Linda are from small towns in Oregon. Herb taught math at Oregon Tech for his career and he and Linda want to encourage students who have an interest in doing a similar thing. The James and Tracey Gorham Scholarship is for students intending to go into physical therapy. James is a physical therapist in La Grande, and wants to support EOU students who will follow him into his chosen profession.”
Endowed scholarships provide a lasting legacy and aid generations of students in perpetuity. Regan said he expects private philanthropy to become even more important in uncertain economic times, as state funding faces a downturn.
The EOU Foundation has established a Crisis Fund for exactly this purpose. Those interested in providing critical assistance for students during the coronavirus pandemic, can visit eou.edu/foundation to give online.
“More and more students will undoubtedly need assistance as family support may be affected due to job losses, layoffs or other considerations,” he said.
EOU remains the most affordable university option in Oregon, and the EOU Foundation plays a critically important part in ensuring that every student has access to higher education.