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Foundation recognizes 2015 major gifts

Posted January 15, 2016

Four large gifts were among the many received in calendar year 2015 by the Metropolitan State University Foundation in support of students and programs.

“We are so grateful for the substantial commitment of our donors,” says Deb Vos, Interim Executive Director of the Metropolitan State University Foundation. “Our donors believe in the university’s mission and, most importantly, believe in our students and know the impact that their gift will have on the lives of our students and our communities.”

More than 66 percent of Metropolitan State University students are eligible for financial aid, and the financial support provided by scholarships is critically important for many students to complete their education.

Metropolitan State University thanks these generous donors for their support and investment in the university and its students:

  • Sandy Burton established the inaugural scholarship endowment of $50,000 for students in the College of Individualized Studies (CIS), the largest college within the university and the first college that existed when the university was created. Sandy is the widow of John Burton, who was an award-winning faculty advisor at the university for nearly 25 years. John was well-known for his student-centered approach and was loved by many. Sandy wanted to honor John’s memory and continue to provide impact to Metropolitan State’s CIS students.
  • Sue Hammersmith and Al Uniacke donated $40,000 to establish the first recruitment scholarship endowment for students transferring into a science education curriculum at Metropolitan State. Sue Hammersmith was the university’s sixth president, having led the institution from 2008 – 2014. She elevated the university’s diversity efforts and is interested in supporting a scholarship that will encourage all community college students to complete their bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan State, but particularly those students from populations disadvantaged by historic racism. As the spouse of the former president, Al Uniacke was also deeply involved in the work of the university, supporting the presidency and was a member of two of the University Foundation’s scholarship awards committees, an effort which allowed him to interact with students and support their degree completion.
  • Roger and Nancy McCabe established a $50,000 inaugural endowment to support the emergency needs of Metropolitan State’s active duty military and veteran students. The McCabes have been generous supporters in the past, having also established endowments in support of students in nursing, social work, urban teacher program and law enforcement and criminal justice. They have a particular passion for the university’s military students, recognizing the courage and sacrifice these students make to maintain our freedom and the challenges they face as they reintegrate into society, particularly if they come to us immediately after combat duty.
  • Through their estate plans, Rob and Susan Shumer established the first endowment to support the growth and development of the Institute of Community Engagement and Scholarship. Susan was the previous director of the institute, and Rob and Susan continue to stay involved in the work of the institute. This gift is significant because it supports an area of the university that remains core to our mission of educating graduates as engaged citizens.

These significant gifts have contributed to the Foundation’s overall fundraising efforts, which experienced a positive increase in fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015) when the Foundation raised more than $685,000.

For more information on supporting Metropolitan State University, contact Interim Executive Director Deb Vos at or call 651-793-1802; or Development Director Maureen Acosta at or call 651-793-1804; or visit the Foundation’s website.