Student from Freeburg Receives Missouri Colleges Fund Scholarship

Heather Libbert, an elementary education major at William Woods University, has received a scholarship from the Missouri Colleges Fund (MCF) in recognition of her achievements at WWU. The native of Freeburg will graduate May 10.
Money for the scholarship came from the Citigroup Foundation. Citing a desire to invest in education in the State of Missouri, the Citigroup Foundation provided a grant of $75,000 for the Missouri Colleges Fund to help in the fund’s efforts to address the severe shortage of qualified teachers across the state.


The grant, which was secured locally by the Citigroup Leadership Council, provides need-based financial aid to outstanding education students at the 11 MCF member independent colleges and universities. The funds were restricted to senior education students intending to go into teaching in a public school upon graduation.


Libbert is president of Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society, president of Alpha Chi National College Honor Society and campus coordinator for the Little Brothers/Little Sisters organization.


She says, “Children area an important part of my life.” In addition to volunteering as a big sister for the Little Brothers/Little Sisters organization, she has taught summer school for two summers and worked at a YMCA summer camp, a preschool and a child development center.


Composed of senior management from Citigroup’s family of businesses, the Leadership Council works together to play a leadership role in the state of Missouri, where more than 6,200 employees and more than 3,000 agents work and live.


“We feel strongly that this grant will allow the Colleges Fund to address this critical shortage in the public school districts in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Central Missouri and all across the State,” said Kevin Kessinger, the Leadership Council chair and operations and technology director for the Global Consumer Bank, located in Kansas City.


“It is estimated that 35 percent of Missouri’s elementary and secondary school teachers will retire in the next five years at a time when student populations are growing, urban and rural classrooms are overcrowded and local school districts are reporting a serious shortage of credentialed teachers,” Kessinger said.


The teacher shortage has received the attention of parents, the press, government agencies and business leaders. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reports that student populations are growing at a time when many career teachers
are retiring. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future notes that about
one-third of America’s teachers have taught for more than 20 years and school districts need to recruit two million teachers in the next 10 years.


“We feel that this $75,000 grant is an important commitment for our businesses—by enhancing the quality and quantity of teachers in Missouri communities we are directly impacting those communities in a positive fashion,” said Dave Lowman, vice chair of the Leadership Council and Chief Servicing and Technology officer for Citigroup Real Estate Lending located in St. Louis.


The Missouri Colleges Fund is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1952. It works with the state’s outstanding private colleges and universities and leading corporation like Citigroup to help meet the needs of supporters and independent higher education.


The fund has identified the teacher shortage as a primary focus and this grant will go a long way to help us recruit and maintain students who will become outstanding teachers when they return to the classroom,” said Larry Schepker, president of the Colleges Fund.


“The fund is a very proud and appreciative of the partnership with the Citigroup Foundation and its supporting business including CitiMortgage, Citi Cards, CitiStreet, CitiFinancial, Smith Barney, Primerica and Travelers,” Schepker said.


The fund’s member schools are independent, baccalaureate degree-granting liberal arts institutions accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. MCF member colleges derive their income primarily from private sources like this grant from Citigroup.


The Missouri Colleges Fund members include: Avila College, Kansas City; Central Methodist College, Fayette; Culver-Stockton College, Canton; Drury University, Springfield; Evangel University, Springfield; Fontbonne College, St. Louis; Maryville University, St. Louis; Park University, Parkville; Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar; Westminster College, Fulton; and William Woods University, Fulton.


For more information, visit the Missouri Colleges Fund on the web at www.mocollegesfund.org.


Citigroup (NYSE:C), the preeminent global financial services company with some 200 million customer accounts in more than 100 countries, provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities
brokerage, and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup’s trademark red
umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and
Travelers. The Citigroup Foundation primarily focuses on its grant making in three areas: financial education, educating the next generation, and building communities and entrepreneurs. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com.