The Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation recently awarded students $1.1 million in scholarships for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, which has only been repeated one other time in the university’s past.

Awards include merit-based, need-based, academic, leadership, athletic and rodeo scholarships. The DSU Heritage Foundation provides scholarships to 55% of the student body and manages financial support for many on-campus programs. To date, the foundation has raised more than $21 million and awarded more than $4 million in scholarships.

“Our Blue Hawks work extremely hard in the classroom, in competition and in our community, and we are honored to invite them back to campus this fall with this tremendous amount of support,” DSU President Stephen Easton said in a press release.

DSU Heritage Foundation Executive Director Ty Orton said that the donors set a criteria for all of the named or endowed scholarships. Following approval, all scholarship criteria is sent to various DSU departments, he said, noting that respective committees sort through all of the applications. From there, each department chooses the scholarship recipients and the foundation moves forward with the award process, he added.

“All scholarships are for tuition, and get paid directly into the students account at Dickinson State University,” Orton said. “This year, students will not only benefit from increased scholarships, but also from the tuition freeze that President Easton put into place.”

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Scholarship funding stems from alumni to friends of the community, who donate to the foundation. It is also supported by the variety of events that the foundation hosts throughout the year such as Yuletyme and golf tournaments. This year, the foundation will also host Give Day on Nov. 16.

“We have such a diverse group of donors that generously give to the DSU Heritage Foundation for scholarship needs, including alumni, friends, faculty, staff and our local community,” Orton said. “We are greatly supported by the local businesses in Dickinson and throughout southwest North Dakota.”

Over the past five years, the DSU Heritage Foundation has also grown its managed endowments to $8.5 million. This means that $200,000 in annual scholarships is now generated from those endowments, which is expected to grow as endowments increase, Orton noted.

The DSU Heritage Foundation also plays a part in managing fundraising efforts for projects throughout campus and is currently working on securing fundraising for the Sanford Sports Complex, the Theodore Roosevelt Center and the DSU Hall of Fame, Orton said. The foundation also launched the Blue Hawk Scholarship Fund — which is the sole provider for athletic scholarships to DSU Blue Hawk athletes.

“This fund manages scholarships, endowments and everything athletic related. It is supported by our donors, as well as by the Touchdown Club and the Blue Hawk Boosters Club, who raise money for the fund through events,” Orton added.