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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Ottens Foundation Gift Supports Four Corners Program

February 4, 2014

GSSW's Four Corners MSW program recently received another generous donation from the John and Sophie Ottens Foundation. The foundation established a scholarship fund in 2012 for Native American Four Corners students. The additional funds will be used to support recruitment of additional Native American students, including the filming of a recruitment video later this year.

"It's the mission of our foundation to support Native Americans in Four Corners states in health and health education, including social work," explains Dr. Henry Hooper, the foundation's board president. "It's so unusual to have a private university like DU offering a program like this, and we also know there's a major need in the area for professionals who can provide leadership roles, both on and off the reservations. We've been so pleased with the way the program has introduced a Native American focus into its classes, and that fits our mission very well."

As the associate vice president for academic affairs and graduate dean at Northern Arizona University, Hooper was already working with John and Sophie Ottens when they established their foundation in 1998. When both John and Sophie passed away two years later, Hooper became president of what is now the foundation's four-member board of directors.

"We do site visits before we provide any funding, and we were impressed by enthusiasm that Wanda [Four Corners Director Wanda Ellingson] and the faculty have for the program," Hooper says. "The students are so motivated, working full-time and then driving in bad weather over mountain passes to attend classes on weekends. We want to help people stay in the program by providing the financial assistance they really need."

GSSW salutes Dr. Hooper and the support that the John and Sophie Ottens Foundation provides for Native American students and tribal communities in the Four Corners area!