The late Paul Stanford Bernhard loved Colorado.
Although he was a native of California, he spent many vacations skiing in Colorado with his family. He also had roots in the state. During the late 1800s, his grandfather sold supplies to Colorado’s silver miners from stores in Central City, Idaho Springs and Leadville. His grandfather also owned a primitive cabin in Estes Park.
“Paul grew up on the lore and feeling the lure of the state of Colorado,” says his mother, Lanie Bernhard.
When the time came to choose a college, Paul Bernhard looked to Colorado and chose DU.
“He loved everything about the University,” Lanie Bernhard says.
The Bernhard family has established a $50,000 scholarship in Paul’s memory in the Environmental Science program in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The Paul Stanford Bernhard Endowed Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually to a worthy student. The University is matching the scholarship.
“The Bernhards’ scholarship is a wonderful way to memorialize Paul’s life,” says Jeffrey Janosko, senior director of gift planning in the Office of University Advancement. “Invested in the University’s endowment, this scholarship will provide support to a worthy student in perpetuity. It’s fantastic that the Bernhards’ generosity will have a permanent impact on the DU community.”
Paul didn’t graduate from DU, but he did get to the mountains often to ski, which he preferred to studying, his mom says.
After leaving DU, Paul returned to his hometown of Los Angeles but continued to visit Colorado.
“He loved the beauty of the mountains, the serenity,” Lanie says. “He felt there was a majesty to Colorado.”
Paul died of lung cancer April 11, 2010, after a four-month illness. He was 54.
“He was such a happy person; he loved his life, he loved his friends, and he had an expression: ‘It is what it is,’” Lanie says. “He faced his death with amazing fortitude.”
“I think the rapidity of his death made our family search for answers and made us want to do something positive,” Lanie says. “The concept of the scholarship evolved from these feelings. I believe it was a decision of which Paul would have approved.”