Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Challenge Announced

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Phi Theta Kappa's new Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship will assist community college students facing unanticipated and severe financial barriers to complete a college credential.

The newest scholarship was created by a collaborative effort between benefactors Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf, the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and 2011-2012 International Officers Tameka Wilson, Danielle Swartz, Esteban Smith, Sarah Yates and Jeremy Mathis.

The Oberndorfs will match funds donated through the Oberndorf Completion Scholarship Challenge, up to $125,000. The International Officers and the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation are leading efforts to raise at least $250,000, which would include the match. To donate, click here.   

The International Officers have been considering ways to help students who encounter unexpected life challenges causing severe financial impact that could preclude their ability to complete college, said Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley.

Lou Oberndorf, second from left, who will endow the new Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship, is pictured during a summer visit to the Center for Excellence, with Heather Allen, Scholarship Programs Specialist, left; Dr. Nancy Rieves, Executive Director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, and Dr. Rod Risley, Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa.

"The endowment offer from Lou Oberndorf, a longtime supporter of higher education, and his wife Rosemary, complements the goals of the International Officers," Dr. Risley said.

"The United States, as well as other nations, must get behind efforts to produce more college graduates and persons holding college credentials," Oberndorf said. "Higher education and business leaders must work together to revise this downward trend. My wife and I believe in the work of Phi Theta Kappa, which validates student success and does so much to encourage college completion. We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa in creating the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship, and we commend the leadership of the International Officer Team for supporting the Oberndorf Completion Scholarship Challenge."

As CEO of METI, Lou Oberndorf was responsible for establishing the Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarships for community college students in health care fields, Dr. Risley said. "Lou served as a panelist at Phi Theta Kappa's 2011 Annual Convention presentation on college completion, and then visited the Center for Excellence this summer to discuss possible joint ventures.

Now retired, Oberndorf was a founder of METI, a world leader in medical education technology.