Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Boettcher Scholars flock to DU

They are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, Colorado’s academic elite. And they are storming the gates of the University of Denver.

Boettcher Scholars, winners of the state’s most prestigious scholarship, are choosing DU in record numbers.

In the fall of 2007, DU welcomed 15 Boettcher Scholars — the most at any Colorado institution. Their selection brought the number of current DU Boettcher Scholars-in-residence to 48, the highest number in DU history.

“Students recognize the renaissance that is happening at the University of Denver, not just in buildings but in programming and leadership,” says Honors Program Director Eric Gould, who also serves as DU’s Boettcher mentor. “It’s making DU a very attractive choice for these students.”

The Colorado-based Boettcher Scholarship Program began in 1952 as a statewide competition recognizing scholarship, leadership, service and achievement. The scholarship covers virtually all expenses, including tuition, books, and a living stipend for students who demonstrate the potential to make significant contributions to Colorado and choose to further their education in their home state.  The Boettcher Foundation awards 40 scholarships each year.

“Claude Boettcher felt if Colorado’s best and brightest young people were educated in the state, they would remain in Colorado as adults and ultimately provide leadership for the state’s communities,” says Timothy Schultz, president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation.

“Of the more than 2,000 Boettcher Scholars to date, more than half of the alumni have remained in Colorado and become leaders in their professions and communities.”

To qualify, students must rank among the top 5 percent of their graduating class, score at least 1200 on the Critical Reading and Math sections of the SAT or 27 on the ACT, and demonstrate leadership and service in school and community activities.

Gould attributes DU’s increasing popularity with Boettcher Scholars to stronger recruitment efforts, several options for students to combine undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years, and the growing prominence of the Honors Program and the Pioneer Leadership Program.

Stacey Squatrito, a first-year accounting and statistics major from Colorado Springs, chose DU because of the community feeling and the people.

“With so many different opportunities, unique classes and dedicated professors, it felt like a place where I could grow as a person — not just a student,” she says.

Boettcher Scholars at DU can be found in a broad spectrum of departments, with concentrations in the biology/pre-med areas, business, engineering, international studies, and in the division of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Many choose to pursue 3/2 or dual-degree programs.

Dr. Lindsey (McCullough) Paulson attended DU on a Boettcher Scholarship, graduating in 2003 with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry, leadership studies and art history.

“My parents were also paying for my brother’s education so [winning the scholarship] took a lot of financial pressure off my parents,” says Paulson.

“It also gave me the opportunity to start medical school debt free — many of my medical school classmates already had thousands of dollars of educational debt — before embarking on one of the most expensive academic ventures possible.”

Gould says that Boettcher Scholars are well-rounded students. “They are engaged both on-and off-campus and they excel in the classroom and with student organizations — their involvement makes DU a more vibrant community,” he says.

Paulson agrees. “Having the Boettcher Scholarship gave me access to a very eclectic, fun, intelligent group of individuals at DU. I think the conversations I had and the ways I learned to think just by spending time with other Scholars has impacted me very positively.”

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