Future leaders: $53.3 million gift bolsters student support and recruitment

student and microscope

Keagan Collins, Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering, works in Dan Gustafson’s lab at the Flint Animal Cancer Center.

When you have support for your education – especially when it’s from one of the most successful people in the country – you can accomplish anything. For Ben Lorden, senior mechanical engineering student, making it through his freshman year at Colorado State University was just the first step.

“Freshman year was hard. I wasn’t doing great in all my classes, and didn’t know if I was smart enough to make it through the major. Having the financial backing of someone who’s very successful encouraged me that they believed in me, and it added another point of accountability because I didn’t want to let them down,” said Lorden.

Ben Lorden
Ben Lorden, senior mechanical engineering student and Scott Scholar.

Lorden was awarded the Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship, one of 16 offered each year. Receiving this scholarship has played a major role in Lorden’s academic career, and pursuing an engineering degree is just one of many challenges he has taken on since his freshman year in 2013. He spent time as a resident assistant in Braiden Hall, and is currently a College of Engineering Student Ambassador and one of 14 Presidential Ambassadors.

Lorden believes that receiving the Scott Scholarship pushed him to reach further and become a leader, and it encourages him to help others do the same.

“I wanted to give back, and a lot of that was due to the generosity that was given to me. I wanted to be a contributing member to this campus and in the College of Engineering. By being an RA, I can impact the freshman experience, and by being an ambassador, my impact is bringing freshman students to the college and university,” he said.

Making financial aid a focus

Thanks to a $53.3 million gift from Scott, undergraduate support via the Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship will increase, providing ongoing financial support for up to 80 students. The gift also includes graduate fellowships – enough for up to 30 students. The support from Scott will allow the College of Engineering to recruit and retain the best students from Colorado and beyond.

“The key is to be able to compete for the very best students who have a passion for engineering,” said Anthony Marchese, associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs in the College of Engineering. “We want to attract these students to CSU, and Mr. Scott’s generosity will allow us to do that.”

In addition to scholarships for exceptional students, Scott’s gift will support four Presidential Chairs, teaching and research facilities, and funding for strategic initiatives in the college.