Northwest College would not be the institution it has become without the generous donations our supporters make every year. We cannot thank them enough. But we try.
The generosity of our donors helps make Northwest College a special place, known for its academic excellence in more than 85 degree and certificate programs. A long list of scholarships help students achieve their varied goals. Almost half of NWC students receive scholarship aid, more than $1.3 million of which was provided by the Foundation in 2020. Each year, named scholarship donors are invited to a luncheon where they have an opportunity to meet the recipient of their scholarship and get to know more about the student they are helping.
Our Presidential Partners program is one way we recognize distinguished annual philanthropy. These donors are helping us build a community of people who believe so strongly in helping NWC students that they invest at least $1,000 each year in higher education. Members receive special invitations to a variety of events, other considerations and privileges.
Having returned from active duty with the Army in World War II, Forrest Allen left his family’s sheep ranch in Montana in 1948 to homestead near Heart Mountain. He lived without electricity, gas or phone that first year in barracks moved from the nearby Japanese-American internment camp.
Year after year as Forrest worked the land, Heart Mountain became a reflection of himself – an enduring marker of place and perseverance, of quiet constancy. And like the mountain, Forrest’s legacy will stand forever.
At age 93, Forrest committed $1 million of his life’s savings to perpetuate ag-related scholarships at Northwest College. His gift was matched by the State of Wyoming, generating a $2 million endowment. Along with financial support, Forrest passes on character traits important to succeed in agricultural endeavors – fiscal responsibility, self-reliance and a patient, can-do attitude.
Click to watch a short video about Forrest Allen and his remarkable gift to Northwest College.
Larry Earhart, ’64, grew up farming on the Willwood. At Northwest College, and later the University of Wyoming, he studied animal husbandry and gained the knowledge to add a registered cattle operation to the family agriculture business.
Larry also credits NWC for broadening his horizons. As a NWC football player, he shared time with teammates from around the country. “It was an eye-opener for a little Wyoming farm boy,” said Earhart about his introduction to city dwellers and racial diversity. He values that Northwest exposed him to different ways of looking at things.
Two of Larry’s brothers and his daughter, Andrea, also attended Northwest College. After his parents’ deaths, the family set up a scholarship endowment in their memory for livestock judging students.
For those who were lucky enough to know her, Carrie Gasch inspired them to give. As an influential member of the fundraising team at the Northwest College Foundation, she added life to the annual phonathon and created unforgettable employee campaigns.
Carrie’s work gave her an insider view of students who were in need of scholarships and she was powerfully moved by nursing students as she battled cancer and experienced their care firsthand. She deeply admired the hard work and commitment that nurses put in to become a vital caregiver. Carrie’s dying wish was to create a scholarship legacy that would benefit nursing students in her name.
Her ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude still influences the spirit of fundraising at the Northwest College Foundation to this day where a familiar mantra, Do it Carrie’s Way, still rings within the office.
When Northwest College student Cole Schanz lost his life in 2007, his family and friends came together to create a memorial fund at the College in his honor. At the time, Patrick Whiting was barely out of NWC himself, and he was in no position to contribute to a memorial in honor of his NWC roommate and longtime friend. Since Patrick became the brew master at Hop Valley Brewing in Oregon, however, he has been able to honor Cole each year by brewing a small batch brew in Cole’s honor.
Patrick Whiting and Cole Schanz met during their freshman year of high school in Billings Montana. When they both decided to come to college at Northwest College in 2004, they chose to room together. As best friends and fellow music majors, they recorded and played music together and commuted back and forth to Billings together. According to Patrick, brewing beer is “similar to writing and recording a song. It’s a nice blend of creativity, science, and hard work.” It seems natural to him to honor his friend through a creative process. “Cole was a very close friend of mine and I hope this perpetuates his legacy. Every year I hope to brew more and raise more money for Cole’s endowment,” Patrick said after his second donation to the Foundation.
For more than 30 years, a majority of the college’s employees devoted their career to students at NWC. As these NWC legends retire, their enduring legacy of giving embraces the Northwest College community, making a difference in the lives of students, alumni and loyal supporters. Their contributions to all of us are truly at the heart of Northwest. Enjoy the video below featuring some powerful stories of legendary giving.
Click to watch video.