Building on a long-standing commitment to expanding access to education for Columbus-area students, Teckie ʼ56 and Don ʼ54 Shackelford have created a $21 million endowment to help students in Columbus schools City to attend Denison University.
“Their generosity will make Denison’s defining educational experience accessible to dozens of high-achieving high school students who otherwise may not be able to cover the cost of college,” said Denison President Adam Weinberg.
For decades, the Shackelfords have demonstrated their commitment to expanding access to education in Columbus. Teckie Shackelford is one of the founders of I Know I Can, a premier college access program in Columbus and one of the largest and most successful college access programs in the nation. .
Inspired by the couple’s actions, Denison formalized the Denison-Columbus alliance in 2016 in partnership with I Know I Can. Through this program, up to 20 students from Columbus City schools receive full scholarships to attend Denison each year.
“Denison holds a special place in our hearts and has played a prominent role in our family history for generations,” Teckie Shackelford said. “As proud and lifelong residents of Central Ohio, we care deeply about promoting education in the local community. We are passionate champions for Columbus City Schools and I know I can.
“The extraordinary generosity of Teckie and Don will allow us to provide exceptional financial assistance to some of the best students in the Columbus area,” said Greg Sneed, vice president of enrollment management at Denison. “In the early years of the program, students thrive academically, emerge as important campus leaders, and graduate with great jobs and professional opportunities.”
Denison’s Board of Trustees has prioritized reducing financial barriers to attendance for students who have been admitted. In recent years, Denison has doubled the amount of need-based financial aid it gives to students and has become one of more than 80 colleges nationwide that meet all financial need. demonstrated by each student.
“The Shackelfords’ gift is a natural partnership between a family and a university who both understand the vital importance of making a high-quality education accessible to highly motivated students,” Weinberg said. “We are deeply grateful to have steadfast champions like Teckie and Don who embody the university’s mission.”
“Teckie and Don are excited about raising young people,” said Yusuf Ahmed, 2016 graduate and recipient of a Shackelford-funded scholarship. “They made my education at Denison possible and supported my dream of building a career in international development. They have done so much for me and continue to be a loyal supporter of Denison University, the Columbus community, and thousands of young people.
The I Know I Can Partnership is one of four scholarship programs run by the Shackelfords at Denison. Currently, 84 Denison students have scholarships from one of these programs.
While education and opportunity are iconic themes of the Shackelfords’ philanthropy, the couple have had a huge impact on other areas at Denison as well. Don Shackelford was a director of Denison for over 36 years, and he and Teckie Shackelford supported several capital projects. Additionally, they and other family members provided a spacious lobby within the newly opened Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts, as well as a garden outside the center, to honor the late mother of Teckie Shackelford, a staunch supporter of the arts at Denison. .
“Nothing is more important to the future of higher education than making college affordable for exceptional students,” Weinberg said. “The partnership with I Know I Can and Columbus City Schools is a model of operation. I am deeply grateful to Don and Teckie.