University celebrates scholarship support, donors at annual Momentum event

Students at Momentum event

When some 30 Case Western Reserve students clad in matching T-shirts assembled near the stage during the university’s annual Momentum event Tuesday, they offered a simple but powerful message to those in attendance: “Thank you.”

Momentum, which celebrates the university’s philanthropic supporters, spotlighted undergraduate scholarships this year, a top priority of the Forward Thinking capital campaign. During an evening that featured several student and donor testimonials, President Barbara R. Snyder also announced new commitments to support student scholarships, among them:

  • a $1 million commitment from John T. Chambers, executive chairman and former chief executive officer of Cisco Systems, to support female medical school students;
  • a new term scholarship matching gift program from the Lubrizol Corp., Lubrizol Foundation and Lubrizol employees that already has raised at least $100,000;
  • another $250,000 in new scholarship commitments from emeriti and current trustees; and
  • a new scholarship fund established in honor of Patricia “Pat” Kilpatrick, the university’s first female vice president, who passed away earlier this month.

Since the start of the capital campaign, supporters have committed and given $86 million for undergraduate scholarships, and more than $187 million for all student support, including scholarships and fellowships for graduate and professional students.

“While we are grateful,” President Snyder said, “we have much more to raise.”

With the 2014 expansion of the capital campaign to $1.5 billion, campaign chair Frank Linsalata and others launched a new, targeted initiative for undergraduate scholarships. Called Fund Forward, the initiative includes options beyond traditional endowed scholarships, including term and shared scholarship models.

President Snyder praised Linsalata and his wife Jocelyne for their leadership in student support, noting that the two had been among the first campaign donors to undergraduate scholarships—committing $1 million. President Snyder also acknowledged Board of Trustees Chair Chuck Fowler and his wife, Char, who established the Fowler Family Fellowships to support MBA students in the Weatherhead School of Management.

Two current students also took to the podium to share the impact of scholarships on their own experiences at Case Western Reserve, including Sierra Lipscomb, a first-year history major from Cleveland.

“As a student coming from the urban public school district, I had no idea how my parents would be able to afford sending me to college,” said Lipscomb, the valedictorian of her class at Cleveland Early College High School and recipient of the Ruth Ratner Miller Partial Scholarship and the John Huntington Fund for Education. “I had the brains, the brawn and the willpower to succeed, but unfortunately I did not have the funds to go along with it. … Your gifts allow students the chance to fulfill their dreams without having to worry about financial limitations on those aspirations.”

Senior Daniel Ryave, a double major in cognitive science and psychology from just outside Pittsburgh, explained that scholarship support first helped cement his decision to attend Case Western Reserve, and then gave him opportunity to give back to the campus and community through multiple volunteer activities. This June, he’ll begin a 27-month Peace Corps assignment in Togo, a West African nation.

Ryave is recipient of the Pijan Student Leadership Award for Outstanding Community Service and the Peter Witt Scholarship.

“Without the scholarships I received, I never would have found my love for service,” he said, “and I never would have been able to achieve my dreams. I can’t thank you all enough.”

Below are details of all of the commitments shared during last night’s event:

  • Chambers’ $1 million commitment is in honor of his parents, June and John, both of whom received medical degrees from Case Western Reserve.
  • Alumni and Lubrizol executives Mark Sutherland and Bob Graf each committed $25,000 to the Lubrizol’s new scholarship initiative, with the Lubrizol Foundation matching their gifts. Through these gifts, Lubrizol contributed $100,000 before even announcing the scholarship campaign to its employees, many of whom also are Case Western Reserve graduates.
  • Alumnus Yale Paprin committed $25,000 to the scholarship honoring Kilpatrick, which soon was matched by alumna Lynn Ritvo. Both spoke Tuesday of Kilpatrick’s profound influence on their lives. Others have joined them in raising $88,000 thus far toward the scholarship, and fundraising continues.
  • Alumnus Bob Herbold, former chief operating officer at Microsoft, who committed $1.5 million to support graduate students at Case School of Engineering. The commitment will help support a multifaceted initiative at the engineering school: the Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems.
  • Alumnus, emeritus trustee and former board chair Allen Ford, who gave $200,000 to term scholarships that will benefit multiple students over eight years
  • Trustee Ellen Stirn Mavec, who gave a $25,000 term scholarship to provide tuition assistance to a student in the visual arts.
  • Trustee and alumna Virginia Nord Barbato who supported stipends for graduate fellows in the university’s doctoral program in art history.
  • A shared scholarship launched by former Undergraduate Student Government presidents Duwain Pinder and Neil Ursic, who are encouraging their fellow USG alumni to contribute to the fund.
  • A shared scholarship supported by members of the Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter, including Ollie Poppenberg and Liz McFarlin
  • A shared scholarship initiated by members of the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University board.

Fund Forward is a campaign for undergraduate scholarship that includes traditional endowed scholarship funds, term scholarships, and the shared scholarship fund. Through partial- and full-term scholarships, donors can make a named commitment from $25,000 to $200,000 that will cover part or all of an undergraduate student’s tuition for four years. In addition, any amount can be given to the shared scholarship fund. These gifts will jointly go toward providing tuition relief for students the following academic year.

For more information on the undergraduate scholarship campaign, visit