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Students and donors filled the University Center's Meyer Ballroom on September 11 to celebrate the act of giving. The Donors and Scholars event, which is put on by the Colorado Mesa University Foundation, is a time when scholarship recipients can meet those whose have generously gifted in order to make their educational dreams a reality.

“My husband and I are alumni and when we went here we received scholarships and grants, which is why we feel it’s important to give back,” said CMU donor Barbara Brown. “We want to make sure that someone who wants to go to Colorado Mesa University has that opportunity.”

About 150 donors attended the annual event, from individual donors to private companies to government agencies.

“We wanted to provide our existing or former clients the opportunity to further their education and chase their dreams,” said Scott Aker with the Grand Junction Housing Authority.

Whether it’s providing tuition assistance, purchasing state-of-the-art technology or supporting student-athletes, every donation betters the university and its students.

“I’m very thankful to my donors. They’ve allowed me to come to western Colorado and pursue my academic career in exercise science,” said senior Angelina Riggs.

The evening was full of entertainment, connection and great conversation.

In attendance was donor Phil Pe’a, who left the state of Hawaii for Grand Junction in 1978. He arrived after receiving a football scholarship and said the entire community helped him with the transition and because of that, he’s been here ever since.

“I give because I want out-of-state students to have the same experience I had. I hope it helps ease the pressure so they can focus on getting their degree instead of paying back student loans,” said Pe’a. “Most of all, I want them to feel that same sense of community and that they belong here.”

Today, the Colorado Mesa University Foundation has established an endowment of more than $33 million. It has over 300 named scholarships which provide more than $2.6 million in financial aid to CMU students every year.

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Written by Kelsey Coleman