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Sundin’s gift to CMC honors daughter’s life

Kristin CarlsonSpecial to the Post IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
In this 2016 file photo, Hal Sundin, right, atop one of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks with his late daughter, Norma.
Contributed file photo

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – When Norma Sundin died suddenly in 2010, her father, Hal Sundin, wanted to do something to commemorate her life and benefit the community she had called home for more than 20 years. The result is the Norma Sundin Endowed Scholarship for Colorado Mountain College in Summit County. Norma Sundin, who served 14 years as administrative assistant for the Copper Mountain Metropolitan District, was an avid hiker, accomplished skier and dedicated outdoor enthusiast. By her early 40s, she had climbed all 54 Colorado fourteeners with her father. “Norma loved the grandiose views and the feeling of achievement at the summit,” said Sundin, who is also a regular editorial page columnist for the Post Independent.A 1973 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Norma Sundin was also a natural-born philanthropist. “She had empathy for people who weren’t born with a silver spoon,” her father said.

Hal Sundin credits his own life’s path to a series of happy accidents. “I was in the right place at the right time to benefit from the postwar government programs,” he said. “I never paid a dime for my education.” After high school, Sundin was accepted into the V12 Program with the U.S. Navy, where the competition and the pace were intense. By the age of 22, he had earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Dartmouth College, a master’s in civil engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois, where he met his wife, Mary. After Norma was born and Hal had earned his Ph.D., the family moved to Crystal Lake, Ill., where a son, Eric, was born. Hal became chief design engineer at Baxter & Woodman, a civil and environmental engineering firm. In 1975, he was promoted to president of the company, a position he held for 12 years. It was Norma who brought the Sundins to Colorado. She attended college in Greeley and loved the area so much she stayed. In 1989, her parents followed her west and bought a home in Glenwood Springs, where Hal has been an active member of the 100 Club and a consistent supporter of Colorado Mountain College. When a stroke took Sundin’s daughter and long-time hiking partner, he chose to honor her life with a gift that will help students in Summit County reach higher educational ground.

“The price of an education today is prohibitive,” said Sundin. “If we don’t educate all people to their fullest potential, we end up with a split society – those who can afford college and those who can’t.” A fitting tribute to its namesake, the Norma Sundin Endowed Scholarship will help financially disadvantaged students in Summit County climb toward their goals without the burden of college debt. “Hal’s relationship with CMC began over the past few years through his support of the arts at our campus in Spring Valley,” said Jamie Raynor, director of development at Colorado Mountain College. “However, it was his love of learning and support of higher education that led to his generous gift, which will remember his daughter and support students in Summit County forever,” Raynor said.The largest scholarship donation to date at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge and Dillon, the $120,000 endowment will fund one scholarship per year into perpetuity. To qualify, applicants must be enrolled or preparing to enroll as full-time students in an associate or bachelor’s degree program, and must be classified as in-district residents. Preference will be given to eligible students carrying a 3.0 GPA from high school or college. Scholarship applications will be available Jan. 2, and can be picked up at any campus or at the college’s Central Services offices in downtown Glenwood Springs. The deadline for applications is March 15. For more information about the Norma Sundin Endowed Scholarship, contact Carol Efting at cefting@coloradomtn.edu or 970-947-8355.


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