University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced today that OU has received a $600,000 gift commitment from the Rainbolt family of Oklahoma City to endow scholarships and a Presidential Professorship in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education. The announcement was made at the September meeting of the OU Board of Regents.
The portion of the Rainbolt family gift designated for scholarships boosts OU’s $250 million Campaign for Scholarships to more than $206 million in gifts and pledges.
“The University is deeply grateful to the Rainbolt family for this generous gift, which will provide new opportunities for students who want to dedicate their lives to teaching the next generation,” Boren said.
The gift continues the Rainbolt family’s long history of support for and involvement with OU. In 2008, the family made a major contribution to honor the life and legacy of the late Jeannine Rainbolt, an OU education alumna. That gift was made by Mrs. Rainbolt’s husband, Gene; their son, David, and daughter, Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, M.D., chairman of the Board of Regents. All are OU graduates.
It provided support for the renovation and expansion of Collings Hall, home of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, and for the Jeannine T. Rainbolt Scholarship for Elementary School Teachers, established to uphold her ideal of providing educational opportunities for every Oklahoma child.
The Rainbolt family’s most recent gift includes $400,000 for endowed scholarship support and $200,000 to endow a Presidential Professorship to honor and reward outstanding faculty members in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.
“My brother David and I are both delighted and grateful to be able to continue our support of the mission of and quest for excellence by the University of Oklahoma, President Boren and Dean Garn in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education,” said Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, M.D., chairman of the OU Board of Regents. “It is important to us to be able to continue the dedication of our family to the education of our state’s youth. Being able to positively impact the education of Oklahoma’s children through the preparation of the next generation of new, innovative and committed teachers by OU is, to us, an imperative.”
“We are excited about the future potential of the College of Education under Dean Garn’s leadership,” said David Rainbolt, CEO of BancFirst Corp. “To produce outstanding teachers, he must have the resources to attract both exceptional students and faculty. Hopefully, our contribution will assist OU in that pursuit of excellence.”
The Campaign for Scholarships now includes more than $41.5 million in annual gifts, which are immediately used, and $165 million in endowed gifts that create a permanent fund, of which only the interest is used. Of the total, $47.2 million is in deferred commitments, established as part of donors’ estate plans.
The campaign has enabled OU to more than double its private scholarships in the past five years, and OU students began the 2012-2013 academic year with more privately funded scholarships available to them than at any other time in OU’s history.
“One of the favorite parts of my job is to be able to tell a student that he or she has received a scholarship,” said Matt Hamilton, vice president for Enrollment and Student Financial Services and Registrar on the Norman campus. “Because of the success of the Campaign for Scholarships, we are able to share that great news with more and more students. Scholarships help students not only to continue their education at OU, but also to earn their degrees in a timely fashion and graduate with less student loan debt.”
The campaign, which encompasses need-based and merit-based scholarships on all three OU campuses, has been bolstered by much-appreciated gifts from thousands of donors and range from donations of $5 to an endowment gift of $6 million.
Among the other scholarships established during the Campaign is the new Peggy Dow Helmerich Endowed Drama Scholarship, which, in its first year, is providing assistance to 46 drama students for 2012-2013. That scholarship endowment is part of major donation that Mrs. Helmerich and her husband, the late OU alumnus Walter H. Helmerich III, made to OU in 2011. OU’s drama school is named for Mrs. Helmerich, a Tulsa civic leader and community volunteer whose early acting career included performances in “Harvey” with James Stewart and “Bright Victory” with Arthur Kennedy.
Other major gifts have established scholarships to help any OU student with financial need and academic achievement, regardless of major. Established by the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation of Tulsa, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Scholarships are the most generous need-based scholarships on campus. These scholarships often provide aid to students who would not be able to attend OU any other way.
Other exceptionally generous scholarship programs include the W. Ray and Beatrice Carr Wallace Scholarship, endowed by Mr. and Mrs. Wallace of Dallas, which provides recipients up to $6,000 annually. The Howard Lester Scholarships and Mary Lester Scholarships, funded annually by the Lester Family Foundation in California, provide $5,000 each year to six students. Recipients of these scholarships are selected from a general application process open to all students.
A centerpiece of the Campaign is the Sooner Heritage Scholarships Program, established by President Boren in 2003 to assist students from middle-income families who may not qualify for federal or state grants but still need assistance. Gifts of all sizes have been made in support of this special scholarship program.
An endowment established by late OU alumnus Cy Wagner and his wife, Lissa, of Midland, Texas, generates enough funding to support hundreds of Sooner Heritage Scholarships each year.
The total dollar amount of Sooner Heritage Scholarships awarded annually has increased more than 100 percent since the program was initiated, growing from $943,594 in the 2003-2004 academic year to $2.3 million in 2011-2012. Over that period, nearly 25,000 Sooner Heritage Scholarships have been awarded.