Donne and Sue Fisher make $5 million gift to University of Denver

By Sarah Satterwhite

December 11, 2013

Donne and Sue Fisher are investing $5 million in the future of early childhood education through a gift to the University of Denver.  Long-time supporters of the University whose generosity named the Fisher Early Learning Center at its inception, the Fishers demonstrate their ongoing visionary commitment to young children through their latest gift.  Their generosity will have a lasting impact on the youngest and most vulnerable population in our society by addressing their educational needs from two sides – preparing more professionals for careers in early childhood education and increasing access for more young children.

“We are honored to be a part of DU and what the University does to serve the students as well as the community,” said Donne Fisher.  “We believe that serving our youngest children effectively will have the greatest impact.”

Fisher-Post1The Donne and Sue Fisher Endowed Graduate Scholarship Fund will provide scholarship support to graduate students in the Early Childhood Special Education master’s program at DU’s Morgridge College of Education.  Awarded to students pursuing a graduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education or a degree with an emphasis in early childhood, these scholarships will enable more individuals to enter the field who otherwise might not have chosen that path.

“The University of Denver’s ability to train professionals in a field of such high demand, without concern for cost, is consistent with and enhances our commitment to the public good,” said Dr. Karen Riley, Interim Dean of Morgridge College of Education.  “The Fishers’ generosity will enable these educators to flourish in their chosen field, and that meets a great need in our community.”

The scholarship for graduate students is established through a bequest gift from the Fishers, and it will be matched dollar-to-dollar through the University’s scholarship matching program.  Funds from the match will enable students to begin receiving the scholarship in fall 2014, and the bequest will strengthen the scholarship fund in perpetuity.

Also established through this gift, the Donne and Sue Fisher Endowed Preschool Scholarship Fund will provide scholarship support to preschool students with demonstrated financial need to attend the Fisher Early Learning Center on the University of Denver campus. By filling the unmet need beyond what other preschool funds provide, this scholarship allows children to attend the Center who otherwise might not consider applying for admission.  It will open the Center’s doors to children in underrepresented populations as well as those who are at risk due to socioeconomic, ethnic and other factors.

The Center’s reputation for excellence is borne out in the details – innovative curriculum, quality teachers, ratios that are better than the benchmarks, and an inclusive program that meets the comprehensive needs of children of all abilities.

The Fishers established this preschool scholarship through a bequest gift.  In order to see the impact of this scholarship during their lifetime, the Fishers are making additional gifts to activate the scholarship immediately.  As a result, the Center will start recruiting applicants for the scholarship program in the coming weeks, anticipating that the first Donne and Sue Fisher Students will begin attending in January 2014.

By investing in early childhood education through graduate and preschool scholarships, the Fishers’ gift will empower the University of Denver to better meet the needs of our community’s youngest learners.

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