The Brigham Young University Civil and Environmental Engineering Scholarship Society Committee is organized as an integral part of the university community to serve as a continuing link between the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and its alumni, students, parents, and friends and to mobilize their support for the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in the College of Engineering. The committee will promote the purposes of the department, raise funds in its support, and encourage interest in the department.
History of CEEn Scholarship Society
Historically, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering had limited discretionary scholarship funds. When S. Olani Durrant became Department Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Fall of 1992, these funds amounted to only a few thousand dollars—largely the result of unsolicited donations by friends and department graduates.
Shortly after Dr. Durrant become chair, Mel Nichols (’72), one of the Department’s most consistent donors, visited and encouraged the Department to do more to attract external scholarship funds. Dr. Durrant noted that the Department had letters from King Husein (’71) which he had sent with his unsolicited donations in which King had asked if there was anything further he could do for the Department. Fortunately, Dr. Durrant had just completed ten years as Associate Dean in the College office where one of his assignments was college development. Through this experience, he was aware of a window of opportunity, since closed by the university, for a department to organize its own development program.
Mel and Dr. Durrant worked together to outline the basic format for a Department Scholarship Society and identified others who might be willing to participate. After getting University approval, Jay Terry, a University Development Officer, and Dr. Durrant traveled to Fresno, California to meet with King who enthusiastically agreed to become a board member. They also met with Jim Easton (’62) in Sacramento who committed to participate as well. Follow-on conversations with Lee Wimmer (’68) in American Fork, Doug Ferrell (’78) in Los Angeles, Scott Larson (’73) in Phoenix, and Jim Wilde (’72) in Las Vegas brought additional support and a willingness to serve. These seven alumni became the first Board of Directors, with Mel as Chair of the Scholarship Society.
Shortly after, the Board met at BYU to outline the organization, goals, and operational procedures for the Scholarship Society. They established a goal to raise $1,000,000 of endowed funds within ten years as their central effort. They set a goal to foster annual giving by alumni to support directly funded scholarships. They developed guidelines for named scholarships where donors who made significant contributions could be recognized both by the University and by scholarship recipients. Investment returns from these donations fund these scholarships which carry the names of the donors in perpetuity.
Early in 1993, the Department announced the Scholarship Program to the alumni and friends of the Department, and support began to build. Many thought the goal of $1,000,000 was a bit lofty, but the board was confident that it was reachable. The $1,000,000 goal was met in 2004. The Scholarship board set a new goal of $5,000,000 in the Spring 2007 which has since been met.
Over the years, many alumni have served on the board. Through their diligence and determination, the endowed funds continue to grow at amazing rates. This has been a monumental effort, and all present and past board members, together with many generous donors, many of you included, are greatly appreciated.
It has been gratifying to see thousands of students receive financial assistance from these funds. As student needs continue to expand beyond available scholarship funds, the Board is determined to continue seeking donations for the endowed fund as well as for direct scholarship support. The Department hopes that each alumnus will support this effort at whatever level possible. It is a wonderfully worthwhile cause to help young people reach their goal of entering our beloved profession.
BYU CE En Scholarship Society Fall 2020