The University of Colorado Colorado Springs will rename the campus’s largest building the Osborne Science and Engineering Center to honor a landmark estate gift to the campus at a 10:30 a.m. May 12 ceremony.
At this event, Colorado Springs residents Ed and Mary Osborne will be recognized for their lifetime generosity to UCCS by university leadership including CU President Bruce Benson, UCCS Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak, and members of the Board of Regents.
A recent major estate commitment by the Osbornes will support an Osborne Scholarship Fund, the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the CU Aging Center, the Family Development Center, Theatreworks, and general UCCS operating support. When added to previous Osborne gifts to the campus, the couple’s total giving will exceed $10 million—making them the most generous benefactors in the 46-year history of UCCS.
The gift provides strong momentum for UCCS on the heels of the April 25 announcement of the University of Colorado’s Creating Futures fundraisingcampaign. “The Osbornes are special people whose dedication and commitment to UCCS are examples of how donors and the university can transform both today and tomorrow,” said Shockley-Zalabak.
The Osbornes were named by Shockley-Zalabak as Creating Futures UCCS campaign chairs not only for their generosity as donors, but also their community influence and leadership.
They have contributed their time, resources, and ideas to the university since shortly after they arrived in Colorado Springs in 1969. Ed had been a decorated Air Force fighter pilot who taught engineering at the Air Force Academy and was a successful executive. Mary had a pioneering career in the accounting field, retiring as senior partner at Osborne, Parsons, and Rosacker.
Each has received prestigious UCCS honors and has served on boards for nonprofits such as Goodwill Industries (Ed), Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care (Mary), and more. Mary will be the 2011 “Unstoppable Women” honoree at a May 18 lunch benefiting the Karen Possehl Women’s Endowment at UCCS. Together, they received the Outstanding Individual Donor award from Partners in Philanthropy for lifetime generosity throughout the Pikes Peak Region in 2002.
As co-owner and executive at local aircraft parts manufacturer AMI Industries in the 1980s and ’90s, Ed saw community and industry need for advanced mechanical and aerospace engineering education, and helped launch a UCCS program in this field that first admitted students in 1999. It is now the largest program within the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and Ed continues to serve on its advisory board.
The Osbornes first developed their passion for UCCS through their love for theater, and when in 1997 Theatreworks Artistic Director Murray Ross sought to provide an open-air venue for Shakespeare and other productions, they made what Ed calls a “stretch decision” to donate $25,000 to co-purchase the tent with the late Dusty Loo and his wife, Kathy, whom they consider philanthropic mentors.
“It was a big gift for us at the time, but it introduced us to the joy of giving,” Ed says. “One of the reasons we give is to encourage other people to give. Once you start, the joy is just contagious.”
The Osbornes’ philanthropy connects strongly with the priorities of the Creating Futures campaign, whose $1.5 billion goal is the most ambitious in CU history. Student scholarships are high on their list: they particularly commend UCCS’s Bruce and Anne Shepard Reach Your Peak Scholars program, which has supported more than 1,000 students—many of whom would not otherwise have been able to attend college—since it began in 2000.
They also recognize the need for unrestricted support that gives the university latitude to apply funds where needed most. Such unrestricted support is critical as CU aims to keep tuition manageable despite declining state funding for higher education: Colorado ranks 48th in the U.S. in state support per resident student.
As campaign leaders and ambassadors, the Osbornes want to widen the pool of UCCS supporters. “Even for our young graduates, if they can just give $25 or $50 toward something like the Reach Your Peak program, that gift can be bundled toward a specific gift to a specific student, and they’ll be able to see the impact and know they helped somebody,” Ed says.
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest-growing universities in the nation. The University offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls about 9,000 students annually.
About the Beneficiaries of this Gift
- The CU Aging Center is a community-based nonprofit mental health services facility administered by UCCS, and the primary practicum training site for the clinical psychology PhD program. It is the only geropsychology training clinic in the U.S. linking academic standards of excellence and innovative clinical training with the practical needs of the community.
- The Family Development Center is the early care and learning center at UCCS. The curriculum engages children through the age of 5 in active learning through play, with summer programs for children ages 6 to 10.
- Areas of study in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering include mechanics, thermal sciences, dynamics and controls, and aerospace propulsion. The current graduate and undergraduate enrollment is 259 students.
- Theatreworks is a professional theater group dedicated to creating challenging and innovative productions of classic and contemporary theater. It is an outreach program of UCCS.
Mary and Ed Osborne and UCCS Philanthropy
The Osbornes are the most generous philanthropists in UCCS history, supporting programs such as:
- Binger Hoffman Student Support Fund
- Bruce and Anne Shepard Reach Your Peak program
- Carole Schoffstall Endowment at the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences
- Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence
- CU Aging Center
- Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
- Family Development Center
- Fundamentals of Engineering Exam Fund
- Heller Center for Arts and Humanities
- Institute of Bioenergetics
- Linda Bunnell Shade Scholarship Fund
- Professor Robert W. Knapp Scholarship Award
- University Club
About the Creating Futures Campaign
- Creating Futures is a fundraising campaign to enhance learning and teaching, discovery and innovation, community and culture, and health and wellness on the University of Colorado’s four campuses
- Creating Futures began in July 2006 and was announced April 25, 2011. More than $900 million in private support has been raised toward the $1.5 billion goal throughout the CU system
- This is the fourth and most ambitious comprehensive campaign in University of Colorado history
- Mary and Ed Osborne are volunteer campaign chairs for the UCCS campus
- UCCS campaign priorities include scholarships, faculty support, a Bachelor of Innovation program, the Heller Center for Arts and Humanities, the CU Aging Center, and other campus programs