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Xcel Energy gifts provide power for programs

Xcel Energy has made gifts totaling $30,000 to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation during 2014, providing support for student scholarships and key university programs.

To date Xcel Energy has contributed more than $630,000 through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, said Kimera Way, UW-Eau Claire Foundation president.

"Xcel Energy's ongoing support has widespread impact on the success of our students all across the university, in a wide range of majors," Way said. "These students are our future workforce and will be the leaders in our communities, and Xcel Energy is making a difference by helping to ensure they are prepared for that future."

Gifts from Xcel Energy in 2014 have supported the following at UW-Eau Claire:

  • The hiring of a full-time regional economist to serve as director of the Chippewa Valley Center for Economic Research and Development, which is operated by UW-Eau Claire's department of economics. Support from Xcel Energy, Northwestern Bank and the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Commitment made possible the appointment of Dr. Oleksandr Lugovskyy, assistant professor of economics, to the CVCERD leadership position so that the center can better interact with and serve the needs of local and regional community stakeholders.
  • The Xcel Energy Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship and Xcel Energy Diversity Scholarships. These scholarships enable UW-Eau Claire's Admissions Office and University Honors Program to attract and retain outstanding students. UW-Eau Claire has the second highest number of Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholars in the state. The WAES scholarships are awarded specifically to students in Wisconsin, while the Xcel Energy Diversity Scholarships are awarded to Wisconsin or Minnesota students. The Xcel Energy Diversity Scholarships have helped the university steadily increase its student diversity.
  • Scholarships for students to participate in student immersion programs, including the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. These scholarships give UW-Eau Claire students, many of them the first in their families to attend college, the opportunity to study in a culturally diverse area in the United States and to experience the cultural differences and similarities among various populations — thus helping them broaden their personal perspectives and their approaches to study and work.
  • The Xcel Energy Math Meet, which attracts top high school math students in Wisconsin to a math competition at UW-Eau Claire in the spring. The top performers receive Xcel Energy scholarships to attend UW-Eau Claire. The goal of the event is to increase the number of students who pursue math and science fields as a career.
  • Special programming for Blugold Beginnings, which aims to (1) encourage more students, especially those from diverse backgrounds and low-income families in a 50-mile radius of Eau Claire, to focus on attending college and (2) to give diverse students attending UW-Eau Claire opportunities to work in internships by serving as mentors to young students and to participate in a living-learning community, both of which significantly increase their chances of graduating. Blugold Beginnings' primary objective is to provide Wisconsin and Minnesota with more