New Gift Pledges Will Have $1.1 Million Impact on Business Program, Students

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Buena Vista University has announced two philanthropic gift pledges that will have a $1.1 million impact in providing value-added learning opportunities and academic achievement awards for students majoring in business.

Both pledges were made by charitable foundations established by the late Dr. Harold Walter Siebens, whose $18 million challenge gifts in 1980 led to the establishment of the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business, construction of the Siebens Forum, and funding of several support endowments named for his wife and children.  In 2001, these foundations also offered a challenge gift of $13 million, which the university matched through a successful fundraising campaign, to build the new Estelle Siebens Science Center.

The new pledges are:

The Clifford A. Rae Academic Achievement Awards. The foundations are offering $750,000 as an endowment to support nine annual awards. The awards will include very substantial stipends for three prequalified high-performing BVU business majors in each of the sophomore, junior and senior classes — a total of nine students per academic year. The awards will be based on academic achievement and demonstrated financial need and can be used by the students for value-added experiences and student loan repayment. The awards are named after the long-time advisor and counsel to Dr. Siebens and the foundations created by Dr. Siebens.  Mr. Rae is now retired.
The “Harold Walter Siebens 25th Anniversary Entrepreneur and Business Leadership Development Fund.”  The foundations are offering a $125,000 challenge pledge that alumni and friends of BVU would have to match 2-for-1 with $250,000. The funds will be used for development of value-added entrepreneurial and leadership skills and opportunities for students in the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business.  Those opportunities would include undergraduate research, international study and unpaid internships.

Both pledge announcements were made during the 25th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business.

“These gifts continue the important philanthropic legacy of Dr. Siebens through his foundations and will allow us to create outstanding new opportunities for our students majoring in business,” says BVU President Fred Moore.  “The achievement awards will be significant for nine of our best business scholars each year who have genuine financial need.  These awards can be especially life-changing for qualifying students who are the first generation in their families to have the opportunity for a college education.”

Moore says the University has already started contacting alumni and friends about the 2-for-1 challenge pledge and has received several commitments towards that match.