The Swenson Family Foundation, established in 1994 by Jim and Sue Swenson, has initiated two programs at CLU that generously support students’ academic aspirations: the Swenson Scholars program and the Swenson Summer Science Internships.
Swenson Scholars, which is patterned after successful programs the foundation initiated at University of Minnesota Duluth and University of Wisconsin Superior, provides 50 percent of tuition and fees for qualified students.
Since the Swensons are active members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Dana Point, Calif., they decided to make the scholars program available at a Lutheran college. They consulted with their pastor, the Rev. John Knutson, who suggested California Lutheran University as the recipient, and that was the genesis of the Swenson Scholars program at CLU.
Parameters of the CLU program require scholarship recipients be U.S. citizens, members of an Orange County Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) congregation, nominated by their pastor, and accepted by CLU with a 3.0 minimum GPA that must be maintained in order to keep the scholarship. To date, a total of 57 students have received the scholarships.
The Swenson Summer Science Internships, a program that encourages undergraduate science research, was started in 2005. Students must apply to the program by submitting a description of their proposed research and the name of their faculty mentor. A faculty committee makes the final selections. If selected, the student receives $4,000 for 10 weeks of research, and the faculty mentor receives a $500 stipend plus $500 for project consumables.
The number of Swenson summer science researchers has grown steadily, reaching 17 this year.