Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation

Building on Originality

Venture Grant Leads to In-Depth Discovery

Empowering Research

Venture Grant Leads to In-Depth Discovery

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Keller Venture Grants of up to $1,000 allow Colorado College students to create and implement their own research projects.

Last Spring Break, Celia O’Brien ’18 pursued her project titled “Teachers at Busesa Mixed Day and Boarding Primary School, Uganda.” She spent three months teaching fifth grade students at this same school in 2014, which served as inspiration for her project. O’Brien investigated the growing role of English in the classroom, the factors shaping teachers’ lives, their challenges, and the experiences that motivate them.

“I was surprised to learn how much of themselves they invest in their students in unseen, or at least subtler ways,” O’Brien says of her results. “They spend so much time, energy, and thought on the kids. This quality, I learned, isn’t very common in Ugandan schools; at this one (Busesa), the high quality and dedication of the teachers attracted new students every day I was there.”

This popularity, O’Brien learned, brought new challenges to the school, leading her to explore not only the successes of the school but also the consequences of success, all thanks to her Venture Grant.

Venture Grants are made possible by Dennis and Connie Keller P’91, P’95; Jeff ’91 and Molly Keller; and David ’95 and Avery Keller.

Three Student Startups Split $50,000 Big Idea PrizeMembers of the FlyPhone team present to a panel of judges before a full house at the fifth annual Big Idea competition. Photo by Nina Riggio '17.

Ideas into Action

Three Student Startups Split $50,000 Big Idea Prize

Colorado College’s fifth annual Big Idea competition, with $50,000 in seed money at stake, yielded three different — and creative — winners.

In first place was FlyPhone, which received $30,000 for its concept of using a drone to turn a cellphone into a personal cameraman. As they explain, “By leveraging the power of your smartphone, our purpose-built software and drone body capture HD video from a more natural distance than a ‘selfie stick,’ while affording a more intimate shot than any other drone on the market.”

In second place was Chica Chocolate, which received $10,000 for its high-quality chocolate truffles infused with a Chinese herbal formula designed to ease monthly hormone cycles and delivered to customers on a subscription basis.

Also receiving $10,000 was third-place Ogugu, a business analytics platform empowering owners of Tanzanian micro enterprises with inventory management, bookkeeping, reporting, and forecasting services.

Two other teams made it to the final competition, culled from an initial field of 17 teams.

The judging panel featured entrepreneurs Meriwether Hardie ’09, Richard Koo ’82, Kishen Mangat ’96, Susan Smith Kuczmarski ’73, P’06 and five-time judge Bob Selig ’61.

Students in Math & Computer Science Benefit

Embracing the Challenge

Alumni Set Single-Day Giving Record

During Giving Week, two anonymous CC alumni committed $75,000 toward Colorado College scholarships, with one condition: 750 CC alumni had to join them by making a gift of any amount on Dec. 9. The final number — 711 alumni — was extraordinarily close to the goal and established a new record for the most donors to the college in a single day.

During Giving Week, Dec. 5-9, 2016, more than 403 parents and 344 members of the community joined alumni to contribute nearly $400,000 in support of CC. They were able to earmark their funds to the areas that mattered to them — in memory of a favorite professor, to help students with financial aid, or to supply an athletics team with the funding to travel, among other causes.

“I’m convinced that CC alumni can do anything. Imagine the possibilities if all alumni made a gift of $25. The size of the gift truly does not matter, but participation does,” says Director of Annual Giving Kerry Brooke Steere.

CC alumni proved her right. Inspired by all the alumni who made a gift on Dec. 9, the two anonymous donors proposed a new challenge: if we could achieve 1,000 alumni donors by the end of the month, the gift would increase to $100,000 for student scholarships. By New Year’s Eve, more than 1,400 alumni shattered the goal to capture $100,000.

CC Receives $8 Million for the Edward J. Robson Arena

CC Hockey Moves Forward

CC Receives $8 Million for the Edward J. Robson Arena

Edward J. Robson ’54, P’79, G’11 has given Colorado College $8 million to build a new on-campus hockey arena. Robson, a former CC hockey player, has served on the college’s Board of Trustees and has established endowed scholarships for CC students.

The Edward J. Robson Arena, to be located on the west side of Nevada Avenue between Dale and Cache La Poudre streets, is part of the Campus Master Plan the college’s Board of Trustees approved in 2015. The $10 million project will commence during the 2018-19 academic year, and the 900-seat facility will replace the Honnen Ice Arena.

CC’s Division I hockey team will practice in the new facility and continue to play its games in the Broadmoor World Arena. The new arena also will serve intramurals, club teams, student life activities, and community hockey leagues.

“Athletics matter, and academics are even more important,” says Robson, a developer of communities for active adults and Arizona business leader. “This new arena will give CC hockey players a high-quality ice rink, while keeping them on campus and part of the student body. Doing so will help uphold the college’s commitment to rigorous academics for athletes.”

By the Numbers

711 On Dec. 9, 711 alumni donors — the most in a single day — gave to support Colorado College.
300/50 Kiplinger names CC to top 300 Best College Values for 2017 and places CC among the top 50 overall college values.
$150K Last year, Keller Venture Grants provided nearly $150,000 in student research funds for 146 CC students.

Gifts at Work

See the Spring 2016 or Fall 2016 issue