Scholarships are a living legacy |

Scholarships are a living legacy

CMC Corner
Matthew Spencer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Winifred “Winnie” Van Over, front, and Susan Pordy sharing a laugh when both worked for Colorado Mountain College. Van Over’s husband, Charles, has created a scholarship fund in her name through the CMC Foundation.

Scholarships are the reason many students are able to afford a college education. And people who fund or donate to these scholarships are vital to the ability of a college to extend these opportunities.

In my role as chief executive officer of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, I recruit donors.

Sometimes, however, they come to me. Sometimes these donors come from unexpected places, from people who have been impacted in various ways by CMC.

This is one such story of how a scholarship was born.

I recently received a letter from a Montrose man, Charles Van Over, who wanted to establish a scholarship in the memory of his wife, Winnie. My immediate reaction was, “Montrose? We don’t have a campus in Montrose.”

It was clear from the letter that Mr. Van Over wanted to talk about his scholarship establishment options in person, and so I decided to make a road trip.

At his home, we talked for hours about his departed wife Winnie, about the CMC of yesteryear, about his own remarkable upbringing and about raising his own family in Glenwood Springs, until retiring to Montrose with Winnie in the mid-1990s.

Charles was born in a railroad car near the tracks that now cross Midland Avenue. His father passed away when Charles was 11, leaving him to help his mother look after his four younger siblings.

After high school, Charles and Winnie married, and after Charles returned from the Korean War, they had a boy, Charles Jr., now a successful architect in Rock Springs, Wyo.

Toward the end of his career, Charles Sr. worked for Berthod Motors in Glenwood Springs, while Winnie worked for Colorado Mountain College at its Spring Valley campus – first in the library, then in the accounting department.

Our conversation eventually turned to specific options for establishing a named scholarship through the CMC Foundation, the 501c3 charitable arm of the college.

Van Over opted to create an endowment, the Winifred “Winnie” Van Over Memorial Scholarship Fund, to provide a perpetual annual income stream benefitting a female CMC student who is studying for her bachelor’s degree in business administration.

When asked why he decided to set up the $40,000 scholarship endowment, Van Over said, “I just wanted to do something special for Winnie, so she could be remembered in the valley. She worked at CMC for over 22 years, so this is a special way to remember her.”

This is an excellent example of why I enjoy working in philanthropy and at Colorado Mountain College. CMC’s employees and their families have such incredible loyalty to the college, and I am just humbled to have played a small role in Van Over’s decision to honor his wife’s legacy in this way.

The CMC Foundation currently has more than 125 named scholarship funds, both endowed and annual varieties; and last year provided awards totaling more than $700,000 to more than 300 students.

Matthew Spencer is the CEO of the CMC Foundation.

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