News Service


Murray Blackwelder, External Affairs, (515) 294-7730
Thomas Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6136

Lied Foundation gift to Iowa State Expands
Opportunity Scholarship Program to $12 Million

AMES, Iowa -- A scholarship program at Iowa State University, which is already providing college opportunities for hundreds of Iowa high school graduates, has become even bigger.

University officials announced today (Jan. 27) that a second $5 million gift has been received for the Hixson Opportunity Awards Program from the Lied Foundation Trust of Las Vegas, Nevada, through its trustee, native Iowan Christina Hixson. These gifts, the largest received by Iowa State from a private foundation, increase the Hixson award endowment to $12 million, making it ISU's largest privately funded scholarship program.

"Driven by her belief in the opportunity higher education can provide young people, Christina Hixson has created one of the premiere scholarship programs in the country at Iowa State University," said President Martin C. Jischke. "We know of no other state-wide scholarship programs like this in the country."

Jischke continued, "As she has stated on many occasions, Christina Hixson doesn't give money, she gives opportunity. Her generosity in 1995 provided opportunity for hundreds of young Iowans, and this new gift will provide this opportunity for hundreds more in the coming years."

"I'm glad and happy to build upon this program," Hixson said. "Through these awards, we are touching young people who don't realize how special they are. By giving our youth an education, we are making a better world. I can't wait to see the first class graduate."

Approximately $12 million has been contributed to the Hixson Opportunity Awards endowment from Hixson and other private donors. The endowment annually provides $2,500 freshman-year scholarships to 100 qualifying Iowa high school students. The goal is to bring the Hixson endowment to $17 million within five years. An endowment of this size would provide four-year, $2,500 scholarships for all students in the program.

In the meantime, however, Christina Hixson has guaranteed funding to provide all Hixson students with four-year, $2,500 scholarships until the $17 million goal is met.

The Hixson Opportunity Awards were created for students -- one from each county in Iowa -- who have the ability and desire to pursue a college degree but who face significant hurdles because of personal and financial hardships.

Michael Read, a member of the first Hixson class, said, "Ms. Hixson has helped me and so many Iowa students through this program. We all owe her a great deal for the opportunities we have. With this gift, future Hixson Scholars know that the door to education is open. I don't know what more we could possibly ask for. This is truly an outstanding gift and a wonderful honor."

Read is a junior majoring in agricultural systems technology.

"Hixson students have faced incredible odds in their young lives, which have been turned upside down by divorce, catastrophic illness, the loss of a parent, financial difficulties and other problems," said Jischke. "But the drive and desire to succeed is incredibly strong among these young people, as is obvious from their retention rates and grade points averages, which are above university and national averages."

The application deadline for fall 1998 Hixson Opportunity Awards is Feb. 15 for Iowa high school graduating seniors. Application forms are available at high school guidance counselors' offices, ISU Extension offices, the Hixson Opportunity Awards Program Office in 314 Alumni Hall, 1-800-262-3810 or 515-294-6479. Also visit the Hixson Program web site at


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