First-generation college students entering UW-Stevens Point will benefit from a generous gift from local philanthropists Bob and Mary Berard. The Berards of Stevens Point committed $1 million to endow scholarships for first-year, first-generation students. Currently, 46 percent of UW-Stevens Point's first-year students are the first in their families to go to college.
"This incredibly generous gift will be transformational for students blazing a trail for their families and for their future," said UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson. "We are grateful to the Berards for their investment in our students, the future of the university and our community. This gift represents a particularly powerful vote of confidence in UW-Stevens Point and how we are preparing students for changing needs in the world. Few gifts are as precious."
The Bob and Mary Berard Gateway to Discovery Scholarship Endowment will allow UW-Stevens Point to annually award 10 first-year, first-generation students of academic promise with a $2,000 scholarship, beginning in fall 2018. Additionally, the scholarship would be renewed for a second year for those Berard Scholars who maintain good academic standing.
In recognition of the commitment to education the Berards have displayed through this gift and to many other organizations in the area, UW-Stevens Point plans to create "The Berard Gateway to Discovery." This entry point to the campus will stand adjacent to the new Chemistry Biology Building, near the intersection of Fourth Avenue, Stanley and Fremont streets.
"The Berard Gateway will be a place where these new Berard Scholars can gather at the beginning of their college careers to take photos and dream of what their tomorrows will bring, and a place to return in the future to recall the generosity that helped them meet their dreams," said Patterson.
The Berard gift moves the university's "Then, Now & Forever: We Are Point Campaign" a large step closer to the $30 million goal announced when the campaign entered its public phase on April 30, 2016.