q Western partners with Reisher Scholars Program to provide scholarships - Denver Foundation

Western partners with Reisher Scholars Program to provide scholarships


October 31, 2023

“Aligns seamlessly with our shared values of accessibility and excellence.”

GUNNISON, Colorado: Western Colorado University is proud to announce a partnership with the Reisher Scholars Program that, starting in the fall of 2024, will provide high-achieving students with financial need the opportunity to earn a scholarship that will significantly decrease the amount of college-related debt they’ll have after graduation.  

“We are thrilled to join the Reisher Scholars Program and become part of a network of institutions committed to breaking down financial barriers to education,” Western’s President Brad Baca said. “This partnership aligns seamlessly with the goal stated in our Strategic Plan of increasing student affordability and access.” 

The Reisher family established the Reisher Scholars Program at The Denver Foundation in 2001 to pick up where many scholarships leave off. The program provides grants of $4,000 to $15,000 per year to continuing students who have finished at least one year of their undergraduate education or students transferring into Western from a two-year college.   

From 2001 to September 2023, 2,428 students from a wide variety of backgrounds have benefited from Reisher support, with more than $39.3 million in scholarships. Of the 507 Reisher scholars enrolled in the program during the current academic year, 70% were first-generation students. 

“Part of what makes this program special is that it supports students who have already accomplished so much in their personal, professional, and academic lives,” Sharon Harper, senior director of special funds & scholarships.

“This Reisher Scholars Program is an incredible opportunity for Western students,” Paul Giberson, Western’s director of student retention, said. “Through financial aid and tailored support programming, Reisher scholars will be able to graduate with minimal or no student debt; all while being part of a supportive community designed to cater to each student’s personal needs.” 

With the addition of Western as the program’s ninth partner institution, the program expands its reach, empowering more students to graduate from college on time and without the financial burden often associated with earning a degree.  

“We’re so happy to be able to expand this program to our ninth Reisher school in Colorado to support even more students,” Sharon Harper, senior director of special funds & scholarships, said. 

About the Reisher Scholars Program: The Reisher family established the program at The Denver Foundation in 2001. Roger and Margaret Reisher came from modest means and were the first in their families to attend and graduate from college. Appreciating how much their education impacted their lives and success in the banking industry, the Reishers established the program to help fill a gap in Colorado student financial aid. 

About Western Colorado University: Established in 1901, Western is a four-year public institution in Gunnison, Colo. that offers undergraduate and graduate programs in over 100 areas of study. Our campus on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains is home to more than 2,000 resident students, while approximately 1,600 additional students take courses at the University remotely.