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May 8, 2001


LA CROSSE, Wis—Viterbo University has received a $100,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation to endow a new scholarship for first-generation college students.

The decision to fund the Viterbo scholarship was made after an official from the Hearst Foundation visited campus and met with university administrators, faculty and students.

The scholarships will be particularly meaningful to those incoming students who are most unfamiliar with a college environment. According to the federal government, a first-generation college student is defined as a person neither of whose parents received a bachelor’s degree. If a student lives and receives support from only one parent, the student qualifies as first-generation if that parent did not received a baccalaureate degree.

Typically, students who fit this profile have required additional assistance in making an initial adjustment to the college environment.

According to Viterbo president William J. Medland, 66 percent of last fall’s freshman class was categorized as first-generation." We have a long history of serving students who are traditionally under-represented in college student bodies and this certainly includes students from families who have not had exposure to higher education. Because of limited income, many of these students are unable to afford college."

The Hearst Foundation was established in 1945 by philanthropist and newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. The foundation supports undergraduate education most often though the establishment of endowed scholarships at private liberal arts colleges and universities.

"It is very exciting to be able to associate the William Randolph Hearst Foundation with Viterbo University," Medland said.  "This foundation is very prestigious and we feel very honored to receive a gift. We believe this will provide an impetus for more gifts and scholarships for first-generation students."

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