There are many reasons donors support student scholarships at Boise State University: making access to education affordable; contributing to the betterment of society through the support of education; and for some, paying forward what was given to them when they attended college.
Take for example Kem and Carolyn Gardner, founders of the Kem C. and Carolyn B. Gardner Scholarship at Boise State. The Salt Lake City couple established the scholarship to assist refugees, minorities and women studying in technology-related fields.
Raised in a family with eight other siblings, Gardner said he realized early in life that he would be responsible for the cost of his college education. As a freshman attending Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, he worked as an attendant at an uncle’s service station to pay for his education.
“In addition to the service station compensation, I also received a scholarship,” he said. “It was the only way I made it that year.”
After serving a church mission, Gardner received a scholarship to the University of Utah and subsequent support while earning his law degree from the school.
“I will always be grateful for those who helped me get an education,” he said. “I could not have done so without their financial help.”
Once a scholarship recipient barely able to stay in school, today Gardner is the founder and CEO of the Gardner Company – a private commercial real estate development company operating in the Intermountain West.
“As soon as Carolyn and I were far enough along in our business we started giving back, trying to repay those who helped us by helping others,” Gardner said. “Over forty years we have been able to give millions of dollars in financial aid, primarily trying to help minorities and women receive their educations.”
Rossy Moreno, a first-generation college student studying graphic design at Boise State, said the Gardner scholarship has allowed her to pursue her degree while staying close to her family in Nampa.
“Though my parents hail from Mexico, I was raised in Nampa where I attended high school and became familiar with the Boise State campus. I am greatly inspired by the generosity and commitment the Gardners hold for the students at Boise State University, and I am honored to be chosen as a recipient of their scholarship. I commend them on their exemplary commitments to education, and hope to one day help others like me achieve their academic dreams.”
The Gardners’ scholarship is designed to provide financial support to nearly 40 qualified students per year.
During the Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Opportunities scholarship campaign, nearly 18,000 donors made gifts for scholarships, totaling more than $52 million.
“We identify with these students who are thankful to donors, because our lives were changed by scholarships, too. We are so pleased to be able to change students’ lives and provide opportunities to help them succeed,” Gardner said. “I know these students work hard on their studies, as we did, and the rewards are well worth it.”