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Parents of OU National Merit Scholar make gift to National Scholars Scholarship Campaign

National Merit

The parents of a University of Oklahoma National Merit/National Hispanic Scholar have made a lead gift to the recently launched National Scholars Scholarship fund drive – an effort begun by a group of OU National Scholars alumni.

Jim Dewbre, 1983 OU petroleum land management graduate, and his wife, Jill, of Spring, Texas, have made a $22,500 donation, which includes a matching corporate contribution, in support of the National Scholars Program. 

OU President David Boren made the announcement of the Dewbres’ gift at the December meeting of the OU Board of Regents.

“I am very grateful to the Dewbre family for the generous gift to the new scholarship drive established by National Merit Scholars to give back to the University of Oklahoma,” Boren said. “Their gift will undoubtedly set an example for others to follow. National Merit Scholars help attract great faculty and great students to OU and act as an inspiration for other students to do their best.”

OU ranks No. 1 in the nation in the number of freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled at a public university, with 207 freshman National Merit Scholars this academic year. 

Included among those freshman scholars is Mr. and Mrs. Dewbre’s son, Jordan, who looked at colleges and universities on the East Coast before deciding to attend OU and major in international studies.

“After visiting and reviewing several universities with National Merit Programs, we feel that the University of Oklahoma offers the National Merit Scholars the best opportunities to get a well-rounded education with an Honors College that is more concerned with helping the individual scholar than other universities,” Jim Dewbre noted. “Since not all Merit Scholars are able to attain a corporate National Merit Scholarship, we wanted to contribute to this fund to enable more of these deserving students the opportunity to be a part of one of the best planned, developed and supported programs in the country.”

Mr. and Mrs. Dewbre have a strong commitment to scholarships to assist OU in attracting the best and brightest students. They made a similar gift last year to the Stephen M. Sutherland Scholarship Endowment for high-achieving students. That scholarship is named for Dr. Steve Sutherland, who directed OU’s National Scholars and University Scholars programs until his retirement in 1992.

Craig Hayes, also a past director of the National Scholars Program, is providing the staff leadership for this new fund drive, which is reaching out to the more than 2,100 alumni who received scholarships as National Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic awardees.

The 10 National Scholars alumni on the fundraising steering committee are Karl Blanke, an attorney in Washington, D.C.;  Laura Brunson, an OU doctoral student, instructor and EPA Star Fellowship recipient; Kendra Cotton, project director for the Campus-Community Project at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Amy Cobb Curran, an attorney in Chicago; Anil Gollahalli, OU vice president and general counsel to the Board of Regents; Lauren Barghols Hanna, an Oklahoma City attorney; David Kendrick, CEO of MyHealth Access Network of Tulsa; Jean Lopez, a Tulsa attorney; Megan Schaunaman of Tulsa, a mathematics teacher at Bishop Kelley High School; and Ryan Trevino, director of Community Experience for OU Housing and Food Services.

The National Scholars Scholarship initiative is part of OU’s overall Campaign for Scholarships, which has raised $185 million in gifts and pledges since it was launched in 2005.

(Pictured are the fall 2011 freshman National Merit Scholars during a pre-game recognition ceremony.)

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