Dan and Beth Whittemore

Interest in Native American Culture Spurs Gift to DU

Dan and Beth Whittemore give back to DU by teaching aclass on Native American rights and recently establishinga scholarship to assist Native Americans studying at theSturm College of Law.

Dan and Beth Whittemore give back to DU by teaching a class on Native American rights and recently establishing a scholarship to assist Native Americans studying at the Sturm College of Law.

For Dan (BSBA '63; JD '72) and Beth Whittemore, exploring Native American culture was always an important part of life.

But the couple's real interest in the human rights of Indians began when they lived in Phoenix. Beth was a member of the Phoenix Indian Center Board, working with urban Indians—Indians who had come from the reservations and needed help integrating their lives in an urban setting. She also worked for Arizona's Medicaid system, which partnered with the Indian Health Service.

"I understand how important it is for Native Americans to retain their own identity," Dan says. "They want to retain their ceremonies and customs to keep their culture alive."

The couple further solidified their support for the Native American community in 2015, when they established a scholarship to assist Native Americans studying at DU's Sturm College of Law. The scholarship is intended, the Whittemores say, for Native Americans to learn the legal system and "utilize the law to address legal issues facing Indians and tribes"—including water and land rights.

"Our satisfaction was finding an area where we could contribute to the indigenous people," Dan says. "We're very interested in human rights for Indians, so the endowed scholarship seemed like a perfect fit. It will continue in perpetuity."

The gift takes advantage of the Momentum Scholarship match and the Sturm Family Foundation match and is a five-year pledge from Dan's IRA. "We have a personal connection to many who have been so poorly treated through the centuries," Beth says.

"We have a spiritual commitment to stand in solidarity with indigenous people and try to make a difference."

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