Phi Theta Kappa Nears $500,000 Endowment Goal for College Completion Scholarships

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JACKSON, MS – In less than six months, the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation has met a matching grant of $125,000 from Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf that will provide additional scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa members to complete their college credentials. In addition the Oberndorfs have issued a second matching challenge to Phi Theta Kappa. These funds will be used to endow the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship.

Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf address 2012 Annual Convention.

Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf address 2012 Annual Convention.

"We are so pleased to have received this wonderful gift from Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf" said Phi Theta Kappa's Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley. "These additional funds will increase Phi Theta Kappa's capacity to offer critically needed scholarship funds to student members for completion of their degrees – especially those students most at risk of not completing their education due to a disaster or crisis in their lives."

The Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship Program was launched in November 2011 after the 2011-2012 Phi Theta Kappa International Officers had been considering ways to help students who encounter unexpected life challenges causing severe financial impact that could preclude their ability to complete college, and they found a partner in longtime higher education supporter Lou Oberndorf.

At Phi Theta Kappa's Annual Convention in Nashville Society Board of Directors Chair Everett "Kip" Johnson and Vice Chair Dr. George Boggs announced that the challenge had been met.

"Before the close of the Annual Convention, Distinguished Alumnus Wes Moore announced that he and his wife were making a $10,000 donation to the Oberndorf Challenge and GEICO provided a challenge to members that resulted in a pledge of $10,000 toward the endowment," Dr. Risley said. "The Convention was definitely filled with energy to meet the challenge -- regions were gathering to approve pledges, college presidents approached the podium at the Presidents Luncheon to make personal commitments to the Challenge, Board members pledged their support -- and with everyone working together we achieved our goal in record time."

During his Annual Convention remarks, Lou Oberndorf announced that he and his wife would provide, separate from the challenge, $25,000 to fund 10 Oberndorf Scholarships of $2,500 each to be awarded in 2013 - an announcement greeted by a standing ovation. A second Oberndorf Challenge to raise an additional $125,000 to be matched by the Oberndorfs is now underway to establish a $500,000 endowment to fund the completion scholarships.

"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 Scholarships, and we commend the leadership of the 2011-2012 International Officer Team for supporting the Oberndorf Completion Scholarship Challenge."

Oberndorf was a founder of METI, a world leader in medical education technology. As CEO of METI, he was responsible for establishing the Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarships for community college students in health care fields. Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf, who is now retired, reside in Sarasota, Florida.

The Phi Theta Kappa Foundation is focused on long-term financial stability for Phi Theta Kappa. It is dependent upon the generosity of individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to ensure its future through support of existing and establishment of new endowment funds. For more information on how to contribute to scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa members through the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, contact Dr. Nancy Rieves, Executive Director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, at 1.800.946.9995, ext. 3537.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,280 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than two million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.