$2.3 Million Gift Establishes J.D. Abrams Multicultural Student Center at CU Boulder
Contact: Gigi Reynolds, 303-541-1219, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct. 1, 2007
J.D. and Elsie Abrams, longtime supporters of the University of Colorado Boulder,
have committed $1.5 million to establish a multicultural student center and an additional
$800,000 to enhance the J.D. Abrams Engineering Scholarship Fund.
The J.D. Abrams Multicultural Student Center will be part of the new Center for
Community at CU-Boulder. The community center will include a new dining hall,
programs and student services that will enrich the student experience.
An area in the new facility, made possible by this lead gift from the Abrams, will house
American Indian, African-American, Latino and Asian Advocacy Centers. The Abrams
hope that each cultural center, especially the common lounge, will be an area for students
to mingle and share their unique cultural heritages.
“Growing up, I traveled with my father, an electrical engineer who worked on Indian
reservations,” said J.D. Abrams. “Through the experience, I made lifelong friends who
made me appreciate the richness of different cultures and traditions. I want to make a
similar experience possible for others.”
According to Ron Stump, vice chancellor for student affairs, the gift is an expression of
the Abrams’ philosophy that personal connections can bridge the gaps between different
ethnic groups. “They want students from different backgrounds to appreciate each others’
uniqueness. In turn, they believe this will lead to inclusion versus factions,” Stump said.
Prior gifts from the Abrams include the Abrams Native American Support Fund and the
J.D. Abrams Engineering Scholarship Fund that helps aspiring engineers from federally
recognized Indian tribes. To date, 35 American Indian students have benefited from the
scholarships. Abrams, a 1949 civil engineering graduate from CU-Boulder, has a
lifelong association with American Indians.
Abrams founded J.D. Abrams LP, a full-service civil engineering firm, in 1966. The
company, noted for bridge building, is based in Austin, Texas, and has received
numerous awards for its partnering spirit and leadership on complex construction
Robert Davis, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, said, “Besides
building structural bridges, J.D. also builds bridges of cooperation. Having a benefactor
like J.D. whose business success has been achieved through a ‘partnering’ philosophy will
have a positive influence on the next generation of civil engineers.”
The Abrams’ scholarship fund will continue to support engineering undergraduates as
well as graduate fellowships. The new J.D. Abrams Multicultural Student Center
broadens the Abrams’ impact to include students of diversity pursuing other studies.
Counting this commitment and others in prior years, the Abrams’ support for CU-Boulder
is in excess of $3 million.
Philanthropy and an appreciation for cultural diversity are Abrams family values.
Daughter Julie Koch, M.D., a pediatrician living in North Carolina, has established a
scholarship for pre-med students from federally recognized Indian tribes.
Elsie Abrams, of Hispanic heritage, has a special commitment to the new multicultural
center that will promote successful and positive university experiences for students of
diverse heritages. A businesswoman herself, Elsie founded a company that specializes in
transporting commodities nationwide and in Canada. As Elsie’s business grows, she talks
often of philanthropy and the difference individuals can make in the lives of young
Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson said, “The Abrams have stepped forward at just the right
time to enable us to provide a facility rich in a broader spectrum of student services.
Their values and their philanthropy have set an example for others and we are very
grateful for that.”
Founded in 1967, the CU Foundation is the nonprofit partner of the University of
Colorado whose mission is to raise, manage and invest private support for the benefit of
the University of Colorado. For more information visit www.cufund.org.