As we put the final touches on 2018 and welcome in the prospects of 2019, I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the highlights that have made their way across my desk here at the Puksta Foundation during what has become a truly remarkable year for us. Our year, like many of yours, has seen moments of pure joy and excitement, experienced times of hope and inspiration and we have certainly seen our share of challenges that required our strength and resolve to overcome.
In 2018 we graduated a record number of Puksta Scholars with 23 students donning caps, gowns and Puksta cords during graduation ceremonies across our 5 university partner campuses.
Please join me in congratulating our graduates who have worked tirelessly to achieve their goal of attaining a higher education while at the same time working in our communities to create positive social change. At our core, we will always be an educational foundation providing scholarship funding to Colorado students who want to make our world a better place.
We are so proud of you all!
I would like to
thank our 5 university partners, The University of Denver, The University of Colorado at Boulder, and The University of Colorado at Denver, Colorado State University and Metropolitan State University who welcomed 28 incoming Puksta Scholars into their programs.
Our campus partners continue to provide an incredible experience for our Puksta Scholars during their time at the universities with their deep commitment to programs that include mentorship and hands-on experiential learning opportunities.
Thank you to all of our Puksta Scholar program coordinators for your hard work and oversight of our programs.
During the year
we hosted 2 Intercollegiate Puksta Scholar retreats
. These weekend retreats, which rotate between the mountains of Colorado and Denver city center, offer our
current class of 72 Puksta Scholars
an opportunity to get together and learn from each other, learn about each other and even learn from our Puksta alumni. At the Puksta Foundation, we are consistently identifying, investing in and supporting rising leaders in our community. These weekend retreats have become fundamentally important in our work and they are events which we look forward to sponsoring for years to come.
Another highlight from this past year was our travel to
The University of Chicago in October with 4 of our Puksta Scholars to join the Clinton Foundation at their annual conference
. Through a rigorous application process, Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) accepts 1,200 civically-engaged students from around the world for a weekend of programming designed to assist students at the university level to create change in their communities. As you can imagine, there is quite a bit of synergies in our work. Our scholars were able to engage with leaders from non-profits operating around the world to address some of our biggest and most challenging issues. They were able to network with each other and the program was eventually capped-off with a plenary session where President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton discussed the importance of civic-engagement and community organizing to create change. While in Chicago we were able to introduce our Puksta Scholar attendees with our alumni living in the city and we enjoyed a day together exploring the architecture of Chicago and eating some really good deep-dish pizza.
Overall, in a year which will be forever marked by increasing divisiveness, political uncertainty in the US and abroad, shifting policy and changes in public discourse, the Puksta Foundation has continued to be driven by the unwavering values that define our work.
We continue with our effort to be a light of hope for all as we demonstrate the strength of inclusiveness and diversity to ignite civic-engagement and empower our change makers for social-justice. We will continue to pave a path built on compassion and love for all as we look forward to 2019 with open arms.