The Oregon Tech Foundation surpassed a huge milestone this past academic year, paying out over $10,229,742 in scholarships to Oregon Institute of Technology students. The milestone was celebrated Oct. 16 as donors and scholarship recipients gathered to celebrate the annual Scholarship Banquet.
Matt Van Tassel, a student in Civil Engineering and Dalla Costa Scholarship recipient, spoke at the scholarship banquet and shared, “Because of what this institution stands for and its values in shaping their students, I am learning the value of commitment and perseverance in my life every day. We are held accountable, we are treated fairly and with dignity, we are heard, we are valued, and we are put in positions to be successful. The scholarship that has been so graciously gifted to me has helped me see the value of what it means to be a part of Oregon Tech.”
Funds raised through scholarships make a dramatic difference across Oregon Tech. In academic year 2021, the Foundation awarded 341 scholarships ranging from $400 to $10,000. These scholarships fill various needs for students including those pursuing excellence in academics, assisting those with demonstrated lesser financial resources, providing equipment and technology to those with disabilities, attracting and retaining students in certain fields of study, supporting scholarly athletes, and ensuring a diploma is earned for those close to graduation but have limited to no financial resources left.
“I truly believe that Oregon Tech benefits students from every walk of life,” said vice president for Institutional Advancement, Dr. Ken Fincher. “Ensuring a successful start to a student’s academic career can partly be done by making sure they do not have insurmountable financial burdens. Donors are also showing students that they care, and that they are committed to their success.”
In 1989, the scholarship program paid out just $27,026 to deserving Oregon Tech students. In 1997, the Foundation exceeded $100,000 in annual scholarship payments and surpassed the half-million mark in 2016. The past two years have seen annual payments average about $900,000. The Foundation aims to provide more than $1,000,000 in annual scholarship support for the next academic year to help celebrate the University’s 75th anniversary.
A student in Communication Studies, Andrea Malakar directly experiences the benefit of the James and Shirley Rippey Family Foundation Scholarship. “Four out of six of my immediate family members will be in college at the same time,” she shared. Andrea spoke from the heart Saturday and told donors, “That’s pretty impressive, but it would be nearly impossible without the opportunities provided by donors like you. Your support reassures me that in the end, hard work pays off, and there are always people rooting for you, whether you know it or not.”
Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, shared on Saturday, “Not only do scholarships transform lives for students, they also provide the opportunity to strengthen the social fabric of our academic community. One thing that I know for sure: There’s an incredible return on everyone’s investment in these students.”
As an alumni donor, Loren Jessen is committed to paying it forward to other Oregon Tech students. “Being awarded the Patricia D. and William B. Smullin Scholarship and the William A. Olson, Jr. Scholarship for Renewable Energy provided me the opportunity to finish my education and focus on succeeding at Oregon Tech,” shared Loren, who is now a senior transmission engineer with David Evans & Associates, Inc. “I was amazed at the generosity and knew one day I would pay it forward as well. I would not have been able to achieve my goals at Oregon Tech without the support of scholarships and I want to support future students find their success. Turning around and supporting the next generation through struggles in life builds a strong community and a renewable future.”
Photos from the Scholarship Banquet are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmXa1Xcf. To read stories about gifts and beneficiaries or learn more about establishing a scholarship and being part of our next milestone of awarding $1,000,000 in scholarships at Oregon Tech, visit the Oregon Tech Foundation at www.oit.edu/foundation.
About the Oregon Tech FoundationThe Oregon Tech Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and funds the educational, cultural, charitable, and service functions of the Oregon Institute of Technology.