Helen Hirst Sponsorship Drive
Helen Hirst (1916-1993)
After 20 years as a faculty member in the WSC English Department, Hirst retired in 1982. She had originally moved to Gunnison , a single mother of four, after earning her Masters Degree from the University of Denver . Her influence and many contributions have been pivotal to the different areas of academic and social life at Western, and especially to the WIT program.
The Helen Hirst Sponsorship Drive is launched at the annual Helen Hirst Luncheon, held each November. The program provides immediate financial assistance to WIT members who find themselves in an unforeseen financial bind.
Donors to the Helen Hirst Sponsorship Program are honored at the luncheon with attendance also including WIT students and grant recipients, mentors, Advisory board members and community leaders.
The WIT advisory board, chaired by Sherryl Hall-Peterson, initiated the annual sponsorship drive to raise funds for grants and scholarships. These funds assist WIT students experiencing financial struggles and provide opportunity for WIT students to stay enrolled at Western. Contributions from Western faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the college go directly toward assisting individual WIT students with such necessities as: academic books, child care costs, rent, test fees, transportation, etc.
Since the sponsorship program's inception in 1994, we have awarded numerous grants and scholarships and our funds continue to grow and to contribute to alleviate the financial burdens of WSC non-traditional students.