A Model for Life-Changing Student Experiences

Extraordinary students deserve extraordinary opportunities. That's why donors to the Catalyst—UMM Fund help Morris's best and brightest truly soar. Founded by former professor Paula O'Loughlin, the fund enhances student learning outcomes by supporting life-changing travel, creative projects, and other adventures. Funds have sent students to Democratic and Republican national conventions, covered recording expenses and gotten Cougar football players to the All-American Bowl. This year Fiona Wu ’18, Shanghai, China, used the fund to complete a human rights and international affairs internship in Washington, DC: "This experience gave me the opportunity to better experience the field I am interested in and to adapt to my future life."

Connie Ford and Robert Power are "sending things into the universe." It's the stage they're in these days. Inspired by the urge to redistribute their wealth-and by son Caleb's 2012 graduation from Morris—Ford and Power recently named the campus a beneficiary of their estate. Ford's professional background in higher education has given her an appreciation for the needs of students from underrepresented groups, which is why she and Power are committed to increasing access to education. "An institution is only as strong as the community that supports it," she says. "We need to support the things we believe in."

A former track and field captain, University of Minnesota Presidents Club member, and a 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Randy Koopman ’78 understands what it takes to win big on and off the field, which is why he supports the Cougar Athletic Association (CAA) through a matching gift program with his employer. A longtime friend of the University, Koopman is "committed to consistently supporting Morris through giving," and he appreciates "seeing the positive impacts of [his] giving," across campus. He decided to support the new CAA because he knows athletics are a vital part of a high-value student experience. "I participated in track and field at Morris," he says. "It was every bit as meaningful and important to me as my studies."