Bodenhamer Gift Benefits Honors College Students
$390,000 gift to boost value of the Bodenhamer Fellowship
Friday, August 17, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Bodenhamer Fellows and their families received some great news at their annual back-to-school dinner hosted by the Honors College on Thursday evening. The Bodenhamer Foundation, acting through its trustee Lee Bodenhamer, will make a gift of $390,000 to increase funding for Bodenhamer Fellowships over the next three years. The gift will boost the value of the Bodenhamer Fellowship from $12,500 a year to $17,500 a year.
“Since he first created the Bodenhamer Fellowship in 1998, Lee has invested in the future of 103 top-notch students,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “This new gift will open up even more opportunities for these students to study abroad, engage in mentored research and serve others. We are incredibly grateful to Lee for this support.”
“The quality of these young people is just outstanding,” Bodenhamer said. “They’re not bashful about traveling around the world and presenting their work at conferences. I’ve been really pleased with them, and the nice thing is, you can see the direct effect of what the money does – it goes directly into scholarships for the kids.”
A native of El Dorado, Bodenhamer earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in business at the University of Arkansas and completed his doctoral studies at Harvard. In 1968 he founded First Variable Life, which specialized in retirement annuities. In 1977 he founded Meridian Management Co., an investment management firm, and worked there until he retired in 2000.
Bodenhamer took a leadership role during the university’s Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, and he and his wife, Beverly, are active volunteers as the university prepares for its next comprehensive fundraising campaign. He is a life member of the Arkansas Alumni Association, and in 2009 was honored for his service to the university with the Chancellor’s Medal. He has been recognized as a Tower of Old Main for his cumulative giving to the university.
The Bodenhamer Fellowship is awarded to incoming freshmen and covers almost all of the general costs of attending the university. The fellowship also may be used for study abroad, attendance at professional and educational conferences, research and special equipment that the fellow may need. Bodenhamer Fellows also benefit from a five-day trip to Washington, D.C., for incoming freshmen that features tours of the Capitol, the Library of Congress and other significant landmarks. The Washington trip builds bonds among the new Bodenhamer Fellows that are strengthened as they progress through their undergraduate career.
“We are grateful to Lee Bodenhamer for this gift, which helps us to continue recruiting the very best and brightest students to study at the University of Arkansas,” said Bob McMath, dean of the Honors College. “Lee’s support for our students goes beyond dollars and cents. He takes a real interest in each of the fellows, and his mentorship is deeply meaningful to them.”