OCTOBER 28, 2009

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Family Creates OSU Scholarship to Honor Sister’s Service

Photo of Carisa Winters.
Carisa Winters lost her battle to breast cancer in 2008.

Carisa Winters lost her battle with breast cancer on Aug. 22, 2008, at 48. Though she has been gone for more than a year, her family is remembering her through a scholarship they created to honor her love for Oklahoma State University and her service to others.

Carisa grew up in Harrah, Okla., and graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1982. Though she left Oklahoma to pursue her career as a programmer, her brother, Craig Winters, said she never forgot the education and life experience she gained at OSU.

“She was deeply passionate about Oklahoma State. In fact, nearly every conversation that we had included OSU,” Craig said.

To pay tribute to Carisa’s love of OSU and her dedication to service, Craig and his family donated $50,000, creating the Carisa Winters Endowed Service Award within OSU’s Service-Learning Volunteer Center.

“She was a redheaded fireball,” Craig said. “The thing she was most passionate about was her family and friends, and she did whatever she could to let us know we were important to her. That’s why we wanted to do this service award, because she was always helping people and getting involved in the community.”

The award will provide financial assistance to juniors or seniors who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have demonstrated a record of service documented through the OSU volunteer center. It will also enable students to pursue new service ideas and transform those ideas into reality.

“After 25 years, this is the first endowed scholarship through our office, and we’re very proud to be part of it,” said Joyce Montgomery, coordinator of OSU’s Service-Learning Volunteer Center. “We certainly want to honor Carisa Winters, who promoted service and participated fully in strengthening the community.”

For the Winters family, this scholarship award does more than just honor Carisa. It also provides an opportunity to continue her service to others even beyond her death.

“I hope that this will give students the financial advantage to further their education and also participate in service to the extent that their passion drives them. But even more, I hope it leads them to do something similar if they ever get the wherewithal so they can have a greater impact in someone else’s life,” Craig said.

The OSU Foundation serves as the private fundraising organization for OSU, as designated by the OSU Regents. Its mission is to unite donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence.