Bruce & Cyndie Shepard Establish Scholarship for Compass 2 Campus at WWU

BELLINGHAM – Former Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard and wife Cyndie Shepard, founder and former executive director of Western’s award-winning Compass 2 Campus (C2C) mentoring program, have established a scholarship to support public school students mentored in the program.

The scholarships are among six awarded to incoming Western students who were participants in the C2C program, which begins with fifth graders and follows them through high school.

These are the first C2C participants now entering Western.

“Compass 2 Campus started as a dream and thanks to a lot of dedicated and incredible people we get to realize and continue that dream,” said Cyndie Shepard, in thanking program supporters during a C2C brunch at Western on Sunday, May 21, which both she and Bruce Shepard attended.

The Bruce and Cyndie Shepard Endowed Scholarship was established through their contribution to the recently completed Western Stands for Washington fundraising campaign.

The first two Shepard scholarships have been awarded to two Compass 2 Campus mentees: Sulamita Derkach of Ferndale and Hailey Staples of Burlington, who both will start as freshmen at Western in the fall.

“I am very excited to be a part of such a friendly university and I am thankful for the support that Bruce and Cyndie Shepard have given me to fulfill my dreams!” Derkach said.

Staples echoed that sentiment, thanking Bruce and Cyndie Shepard “for their generosity and for helping make my dreams a reality.”

A total of six incoming Western students will be receiving C2C scholarships, including the two freshmen receiving the Shepard scholarships, and other students receiving the Diann and Kunle Ojikutu C2C Pathways Scholarship, the C2C Sue Sharpe Scholarship and two others from general C2C scholarship fund.            

There also is another scholarship – a seventh – being awarded to a WWU student who is a lead mentor in the C2C program; that scholarship was established by Beth and Keith Loveless and is named in honor of Cyndie Shepard.

Others receiving the scholarships include Jazmyn Williams of Mount Vernon, Celina Espinoza of Burlington, and Jessica Phillips.

“Western is very fortunate to have the support from generous donors for these scholarships that are awarded to deserving students who have participated in the C2C program.  The impact of these scholarships on the recipients in their first year will aid in their success at Western,” said Anselmo Villanueva, executive director of the C2C program at Western.

At the May 21 brunch, Kunle Ojikutu, Western’s assistant vice president for Enrollment and Student Services/special assistant to the President for Diversity, described his ascent from poverty in Nigeria to attainment of a doctorate degree and roles as an administrator at both the University of Nebraska and Western.

“I see them in me, and me in them,” Ojikutu said of the C2C scholarship recipients, who like him have benefited from having caring mentors in their lives. Without mentors in his life, and the strong support of his wife, Diann, he said, “I would not be in front of you today.”

Compass 2 Campus is a proactive effort that sends trained WWU student mentors into schools in order to encourage more kids to see themselves as lifelong learners. The highly successful program, started in 2009 by Cyndie Shepard at Western, provides Western student mentors in 11 school districts throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties.

The Washington State Legislature established legislative support for the program in hopes of increasing the number of low-income students, diverse and first-generation college students in higher education.

C2C has won several prominent awards. Cyndie Shepard was nationally recognized with a Daily Point of Light Award, which honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change in communities across America. The award was founded by former President George H. W. Bush during his presidency to engage individuals, families, businesses and groups to solve community problems through voluntary service.

For more information, please visit the Compass 2 Campus Web site.