Dec. 28, 2008
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.