Enjoying their common success at a luncheon held this summer by the Griffin Foundation, these four 2011 NJC graduates all received the prestigious Griffin Scholarship. Pictured left to right is Andy Bartlett, Maddie Starkebaum, Colt Baker and Bethany Akin. (Courtesy Photo)
Only 7 of the prestigious scholarships awarded annually
By Barbara Baker, NJC Marketing Director
Northeastern Junior College has another new, big feather in her hat. Some might even consider it a plume! Recently four graduates of Northeastern (NJC) were selected as recipients of the prestigious Griffin Scholarship. This is one of the most sought after scholarships in the state with a very competitive application process and pool. Only seven awards are made each year. Receiving these 2011 Griffin Scholarships are Andy Bartlett of Merino, Maddie Starkebaum of Amherst, Bethany Atkin of Fleming and Colt Baker of Akron. All of these 2011 graduates were standouts at Northeastern in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities and have moved on this fall to Front Range universities to complete their higher degrees. The scholarship is valued at $20,000 per student. NJC has had a number of Griffin Scholarship winners over the years, but never has it had this many at one time.
The Griffin Foundation was organized in 1991 by Pat Griffin, a native of Oklahoma, who earned his most prominent recognition as a pioneer in retail petroleum marketing through self-service gasoline stations under the brand name “Gasamat.” Several years later, a scholarship program was established in 1994 that now provides financial assistance of $5,000 each semester to selected students who have received an associate degree from a community or junior college and who expect to receive a baccalaureate degree in no more than four semesters. The scholarships are available only to students who qualify for resident tuition and enroll at Colorado State University (CSU), the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) or the University of Wyoming (UW).
According to the Griffin Foundation, this year it selected seven new scholars, all having at least a 3.78 grade point average, three of them having a perfect 4.0.
Andy Bartlett held several offices while enrolled at NJC including being president of Phi Theta Kappa and president of the NJC Associated Student Government his sophomore year. Bartlett, an honors student, was also selected, while at NJC, to be the Student Representative to the State Board of Community Colleges, which found him in Denver at meetings being a voice for more than 160,000 community college students statewide. Bartlett was selected the Top Agronomy Student at NJC for 2011. Prior to his arrival at NJC, he served one year as president of the Colorado FFA Association. He also participated in various service projects in the Sterling community. Bartlett has made the move to Fort Collins to study soil and crop sciences at CSU.
Maddie Starkebaum is from Amherst. While at NJC she gave work study time to the Comprehensive Learning Center where she tutored her peers in algebra, calculus, accounting and other business classes. She was very active in Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and was a member of the SIFE Team that won a national award. Maddie was part of the NJC Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa, and Crossroads. She also worked with Tax Help Colorado aiding the low income, elderly and disabled with tax returns. She was chosen the NJC Business Student of the Year for 2011. Along with all of these activities she also held a part time job as a bank teller. Maddie is at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley studying accounting.
Bethany Atkin received her associate of arts degree this past May from NJC. College. She was on the state championship volleyball team in high school at Fleming and advanced to play on the NJC varsity volleyball team. She also volunteered as coach for a middle school girls’ volleyball team while going to college here. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Bethany accumulated over 600 hours of volunteer service at NJC through the AmeriCorps Program. Bethany is now enrolled at University of Northern Colorado pursuing a degree in elementary education.
Colt Baker followed in the footsteps of his parents by graduating from Northeastern Junior College. While here he served as a student tutor in the college’s Comprehensive Learning Center in the subjects of math, English, accounting, ethics and business and was involved in Tax Help Colorado program which provided tax preparation services to elderly and low income individuals. He received the Thomas Porter Memorial Scholarship at NJC’s commencement and was named the business student with the highest overall grade point average at NJC. At home in Akron he works on the fourth generation family farm. Baker has joined his identical twin brother and his sister at Colorado State University this fall to work toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration/finance.
Mr. Griffin lived his entire adult life in Fort Collins, Colorado which was the business center of an enterprise that stretched from Nebraska to California and from Canada to Mexico. In 1979, he was inducted into the Oil Hall of Fame by the National Petroleum News magazine for his many innovative contributions to that industry. He also pursued a career in banking, real estate and investments that spanned a period of nearly sixty years.
Mr. Griffin was called to public service on several boards and commissions throughout his career including the Colorado Fish and Game Commission and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. The latter appointment continued his lifelong commitment to higher education.
It is fitting that support of higher education is one of the three principal missions of the Griffin Foundation which received its funding from Mr. Griffin’s estate following his death in 1993. Other charitable activities include the support of health care and of the performing arts, the favorite activity of his wife of more than fifty years, Edna Rizley Griffin.
Evaluation of applicants is based on scholarship, citizenship, work history and obstacles they have overcome (financial and otherwise) to achieve their educational goals. The blue ribbon committee comprised of professional educators and community leaders reviews the applications, interviews the finalists and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors.