In 1964, when Allen Ray Sandstrom graduated from PSU with a business degree, he was the first in his family to earn a college education.
Thus, Sandstrom understands the obstacles that first-generation college students face, from finding the inspiration to enroll to finding the money to pay for tuition. That’s why he made an estate gift to create the Allen Ray Sandstrom Endowed Scholarship. When realized, his gift will support students from low- and middle-income families who are pursing degrees in finance or accounting in PSU’s School of Business Administration.
“Everybody needs the opportunity to progress,” Sandstrom says. “If college was not in your family’s background, you need a little help to get started.”
Full-time PSU students who graduated from a public high school in the Beaverton or Portland school districts with a grade point average of 3.0 or better will be eligible. The scholarship will pay 50 percent to 100 percent of tuition and fees. Sandstrom’s gift aligns with the university’s Creating Futures scholarship initiative, which is well on its way to raising $50 million for scholarships.
Sandstrom grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Southeast Portland. His father had to quit high school during his freshman year to work as a fisherman. Neither Sandstrom’s mother nor his siblings pursued college degrees.
But his friends at Cleveland High School came from families that made higher education a priority. So, after stints in the U.S. Merchant Marine and Army, Sandstrom returned to Portland, got a job and started night classes at PSU in 1959.
Sandstrom worked in accounting his entire career, primarily at Portland General Electric, before retiring in 1997. Now, he wants to support PSU’s mission of access and help students who face the same obstacles that he faced more than a half-century ago. His gift will be the second largest endowed scholarship in the School of Business and will have a tremendous positive impact on the lives of students for generations to come.
“Just talking to PSU students,” he says, “you can see the need.”