The funds were made possible through a four-week fundraising drive conducted in all Stripes locations during December 2013. Customers purchased one dollar Stripes College Scholarship Fund paper cutouts to raise more than $545,000 in the campaign. The campaign was conducted in 575 stores in the Stripes operating area that encompasses Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The funds raised were distributed proportionately to colleges and universities within those states.
Sam L. Susser, president and CEO and chairman of the Board of Susser Holdings Corporation, the parent company of Stripes Convenience Stores, said his corporation believes the future is dependent on the wellbeing of the communities it serves.
"We want to support our communities by helping to develop strong, educated leaders who will make the world a better place for all of us," he said. "We’ve made these scholarships available to students in our market areas attending nearby higher education institutions with the hope that they will put their education and knowledge to work for the betterment of our communities."
At UT Pan American, 55 students were selected through the University's Scholarship Office to receive the merit-based scholarship that will provide $1,000 to each for the 2014-15 academic year. The selection criteria required that students be residents of a Stripes operating county, enrolled full time, have a minimum 2.5 GPA and demonstrate involvement in community activities.
UTPA junior Sarah Kowalski, who will major in chemistry or biology, said the Stripes Scholarship will help her buy books and supplies.
"Every bit of money helps to buy the things teachers require in their classes," said Kowalski, who also works part-time with the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducting research on the Mexican fruit fly, a persistent pest to the Rio Grande Valley citrus crop.
She said it was wonderful to know that there are corporations out there that appreciate education.
"Here in the U.S., we aren't putting enough stress on it. We are not helping kids enough. It's nice to know that there are companies like Stripes that care and want to help us. It means a lot," she said.
UTPA Vice President for University Advancement Veronica Gonzales expressed the University's gratitude to Stripes and its thousands of customers for their investment in Rio Grande Valley students.
"We’ve all heard the sayings 'no man is an island' and 'education is the key to success' and Stripes’ giving campaign is a great example of how businesses, partnering with the community and higher education institutions, can play a tremendous role in increasing opportunities for students to obtain a college degree," she said. “The economy of our community will be one of the beneficiaries of their generosity.”
For more information on giving opportunities at The University of Texas-Pan American, contact the Office of Development at email@example.com or (956) 665-5301.