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Family endows $1M scholarship program for young students

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Honoring his parents’ commitment to education, Bartlesville resident Barry Lowe and his wife Karen have partnered with Oklahoma State University to establish the Lowe Family Young Scholars Program for children in low-income Bartlesville schools.

The program honors the late Wilbur D. and Grace Laverne Snyder Lowe of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. The program will be unveiled to the public with a celebration kick-off event for area students, teachers, parents, administrators and community mentors on Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Jane Phillips Elementary gymnasium in Bartlesville.

Lowes recently pledged $1 million to create the mentoring program, which inspires students to work hard and attend college. Upon successfully completing the program and being accepted to the university, participants will receive scholarships to OSU.

“We believe that it’s our responsibility to positively impact the futures of children in our city,” Barry said. “My parents always encouraged us to better our lives through education. Although they were unable to obtain a high school education themselves, my parents desired their children to receive an education so we could have a better life. The Lowe Family Young Scholars Program allows us to honor their advice and impact children who most need our help.”

While serving on the Bartlesville school board, Barry recognized a need for educational improvement at Jane Phillips Elementary School. Of the 318 students enrolled at the elementary school, many perform at levels significantly below their grade standard. The district provides daily free or reduced meals to 96% of pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade students.

Launched for Jane Phillips students, the Lowe Family Young Scholars Program reaches children from fifth to 12th grade. Students and parents apply to participate in the mentoring program while in fifth grade and continue it throughout middle school and high school.  

Students are paired with community mentors for age-related discussions about educational success, future opportunities, goal setting and career planning. In addition, mentors introduce parents to college planning, financial aid options and techniques to help their children succeed in school and life.  

“Barry and Karen’s dedication to education will inspire JP students on a daily basis,” Jane Phillips principal Toby Sissons said. “Our teachers do an incredible job of providing academic instruction to each student, but many children need extra support and encouragement. The Lowe Family Young Scholars Program will give each child an equal opportunity for a bright, successful future.”

Complementing the mentoring program, high school participants complete training in standardized testing and the college admissions process. Students who complete the program and successfully apply to OSU will receive a scholarship in the academic field of their choice. As alumni of the Lowe Family Young Scholars Program, OSU scholarship recipients will provide additional guidance for children entering the program.

“The Lowes’ gift will have tremendous impact on educational opportunities for potential OSU students,” OSU Foundation President and CEO Kirk Jewell said. “Their commitment to improving education for young people will help enable success during these students’ college experience. By endowing scholarships at OSU, Barry and Karen have created a legacy that will endure forever.”

After serving in the Army, Barry received an MBA from OSU in 1983. He was elected to the Bartlesville school board in 2000 and has been president for three years. Barry retired as manager of Project Management and Drilling and Production Services at ConocoPhillips in 2000. Karen recently retired from ConocoPhillips as a Customer Support Services and Service Center Technology analyst. She serves as the mentoring coordinator for the Lowe Family Young Scholars Program. The Lowes enjoy attending OSU sporting events and spending time with their children.  

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