“We’ve got your back”: Scholarships catalyze student success
When Ethan Ormerod ’22 opened his financial aid award last fall, he was pleasantly surprised that he had received the E.O. Ellingson Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry. Donors initiated the fund in 1985 to honor Emil Ellingson — the first Ole to receive a chemistry degree in 1906 and a pioneering educator who advanced St. Olaf College’s chemistry program and national reputation.
As a new major, the scholarship felt like a validation.
“I’m honored to receive aid tied specifically to what I’m studying,” Ormerod says. “It feels like St. Olaf is encouraging me in my studies by saying, ‘We’ve got your back.'”
Through the college’s For the Hill and Beyond comprehensive campaign, giving has driven a 73 percent increase in annual scholarship aid provided by endowed funds since 2014. Over 563 endowed scholarship funds have been created or enhanced. Currently $9.5 million in financial aid is awarded from endowed funds annually. This impact will increase through the end of the campaign this May.
I couldn’t be happier that the Ellingson scholarship helps chemistry students do something they love. St. Olaf prepared me very well for my career.Jean Horkans ’67
Electrochemist Jean Horkans ’67 has regularly contributed to the E.O. Ellingson Endowed Scholarship fund, including consistent gifts through the campaign. This includes matching gifts from her employer, IBM.
“I couldn’t be happier that the Ellingson scholarship helps chemistry students do something they love,” Horkans says. “St. Olaf prepared me very well for my career.”
The first to attend college in her family, Horkans was one of only two female chemistry majors in her class. Her professors encouraged her studies, provided research opportunities, and prompted her to attend graduate school. She went on to complete a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and launch a prolific career as an electrochemist. In the late 1990s, Horkans was part of a team at IBM that showed that on-chip copper connections enabled microprocessors to be smaller and less expensive than those constructed with aluminum — a technological breakthrough at the time.
The financial aid Ormerod received has helped him discover his vocation. He’s been part of St. Olaf’s Conversation programs, and, as a second-degree black belt and educator, he also founded St. Olaf’s first martial arts club. He is considering adding economics or statistics to his study to support wherever he heads in chemistry — be it engineering, law, or another avenue.
Working at IBM was rewarding and interesting work in a constantly evolving industry. I support the scholarship so that St. Olaf students can have experiences that help them find meaningful work too.Jean Horkans ’67
“St. Olaf has opened my eyes to all you can do in the sciences beyond medicine,” Ormerod says.
“Working at IBM was rewarding and interesting work in a constantly evolving industry,” Horkans says. “I support the scholarship so that St. Olaf students can have experiences that help them find meaningful work too.”