An endowed scholarship honors departing education dean

In honor of Karen Riley upon her departure as dean of the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education, Donne and Sue Fisher have given $2.5 million to DU to establish a scholarship fund. The Karen Riley Endowed Scholarship will support master’s students at Morgridge who are committed to teaching young children, and it carries on the Fishers’ longstanding commitment to early childhood education. 

“We hope this scholarship can help teachers financially, particularly those who have the deepest need, as they train to teach the youngest children in our society,” says Donne Fisher. “Those teachers will go on to make a great difference. We are all better off when more children can receive a quality education.” 

Donne and Sue Fisher are longtime friends of DU. They established the Fisher Early Learning Center on DU’s campus in 2000. Recognizing the importance of providing a high-quality education to all children—particularly those from less privileged backgrounds—the Fishers also established a scholarship for young students whose families otherwise could not afford tuition. The impact of that initiative has echoed throughout the Fisher Early Learning Center.  

“Bringing children in from diverse backgrounds changed the lives of everyone involved,” says Donne Fisher. “Not just those students, but the faculty who taught them, as well as the other students. These teachers are not just teaching; they are helping our whole society and eliminating barriers to education. It’s had a positive effect on everyone involved.” 

The Fishers’ recent gift brings their generosity full circle, supporting educators as they prepare for careers across the community and state. This investment will help teachers bring the excellence that they learned at Morgridge out into the community for young children everywhere. 

“Donne and Sue Fisher’s gift of scholarships will have a lasting impact on the educators that study at the Morgridge College of Education,” says Chancellor Jeremy Haefner. “In supporting those teachers, the Fishers’ generosity will also contribute to a wonderful educational beginning for many young students in the Denver community and beyond, preparing them to graduate and serve the public good.” 

In naming the scholarship after Riley, the Fishers recognize her leadership of the Morgridge College of Education and her work to improve the lives of children and families.  

“Scholarships change people’s lives, and for the Fishers to make such a generous commitment to DU in my honor is overwhelming and humbling,” Riley says. “This scholarship will change the lives of the students who study here—it will allow their dreams to come true—and in turn, those teachers will change the lives of the young learners whom they teach.” 

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