In terms of making a good investment in society, education often proves to be a strong bet. The well-educated tend to commit fewer crimes, pay more taxes and generally make more money. However, obtaining a good education can be expensive. Financial constraints have left a great many potential students out of luck when it comes to seeking academic progress. Fortunately, other avenues exist for those in need, including scholarships.
Many scholarships are available. For students from Carbon County, Utah, or Mesa County, Colorado, one stands out because it's available only to them. Known as the Saccomanno scholarship, the program was started in 1992 to provide opportunities for area students who want to advance their academic careers.
"I'm not sure how I would go to school right now without it. It would just be a lot harder and possibly not at all," said Cameron Mower, 19, a CEU student who is considering studying either psychology or dentistry.
The scholarship itself is relatively easy for local students to get. It is granted based more on need than anything else, which has helped countless students go to school.
"It covers everything (for) you, but I've just used it for tuition. Really, it makes a difference, because I'm working two part-time jobs, but things have been a lot easier," said Cameron.
So where do all the funds come from? The answer is simple, because much of the money for the scholarship is provided by the Saccomanno Higher Education Foundation which was stared by the late Dr. Geno Saccomanno, a renowned cancer researcher, who published over 80 papers on data, gathered, in part, from miners in uranium mines. Many such mines were and are located in the Four Corners area. Statistical data obtained over four decades has been a quintessential source for cancer research. The doctor was honored several times for his efforts. In Carbon County, his lasting impact has been not only his efforts to fight cancer, but also his dedication to students.
Dr. Saccomanno's academic efforts have been a successful endeavor as proven by the foundation's expansion. In the first year, the scholarship sponsored seven students with about $8,799. Today, about $58,100 is distributed among 38 students.
While the doctor's life and career were eventually very distinguished, his earlier years as a student in the 1940s were ridden with hardships, which may have been a deciding factor for establishing his own scholarship program.