Denfeld News

Dec. 28, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Duluth's Alworth fund helps thousands get through college
By Jana Hollingsworth

In a year when families will be even more hard-pressed to send their children to college, one local scholarship fund might be a lifesaver for area math and science majors.

The Marshall H. and Nellie Alworth Scholarship program celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2009. In its history it has awarded more than $38 million in scholarship money.

The fund was created by Marshall W. Alworth, who was born in 1883 in Duluth. He worked with his family in real estate and mining businesses and created the fund with $10,000 in 1949 to honor his parents.

Before the current crop of recipients, nearly 4,000 students received money, with more than 2,500 earning degrees. There are 464 current recipients, who are awarded more than $2 million a year to help pay for college. The trust supporting the fund is worth $32 million.

“What I am in awe of is how visionary the Alworth family was and what a high value they must have had around education and supporting area students,” said Patty Salo Downs, executive director of the Alworth Memorial Fund. “I think they would be absolutely amazed at the number of students that have benefited from their benevolence.”

Between 75 and 125 students planning to major in science or math-related fields are chosen from 15 area counties each year to receive scholarships. Three income streams, including mining royalties and money in trust, supplement the fund.

Alworth scholarship recipient Vicki Caskey, a 2005 graduate of Duluth Denfeld High School, attends UMD and will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology. She has applied to the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota Medical School and hopes to become a family practice physician. She has received $17,200 from the fund and will continue to receive scholarship money throughout medical school.

Recipients send transcripts to the Alworth fund each semester and always receive personal notes back, Caskey said.

“There’s a sense of continuing to try to do well and set a good example because they continue to have this faith in us,” she said.

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