SEATTLE – There is still time to reserve a spot for the Macy’s Third Annual Future Cougars of Color Diversity Scholarship Luncheon Sept. 16 in Seattle. The deadline to register is Friday (Sept. 2).

Jeff Raikes, a vice president for Microsoft Corp., will present the keynote address during the scholarship luncheon, sponsored by Washington State University and Macy’s. WSU President V. Lane Rawlins is also scheduled to speak. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Macy’s, located at First and Pine in downtown Seattle. To register, contact the WSU Foundation Office of Scholarships and Diversity at (800) 448-2978 or e-mail to bjolson@wsu.edu.

The three levels of sponsorship available for the Future Cougars of Color Diversity Luncheon include sponsor, scholarship supporter and donor.  Support at the sponsor level includes one eight-person table and underwrites the cost for a WSU scholarship student to attend the luncheon. Scholarship supporter includes one seat for $200 and underwrites the cost for a WSU scholarship student to attend the luncheon. The donor level includes one seat for $100.

Last year the event raised nearly $90,000 and about $75,000 in 2003. One hundred percent of funds raised will benefit underrepresented minority students and the WSU Future Cougars of Color program.

The Future Cougars of Color Scholarship and Visitation program is a recruitment enhancement program for high-achieving high school seniors of color throughout the state of Washington. The program was designed to bring these students to WSU’s Pullman campus for a weekend visit each spring to be introduced to the world-class academic environment and to engage in the excitement of student life at a comprehensive research institution.

Since the program began in spring 2004, 191 students of color with an average grade point average of 3.57 have participated in the Future Cougars of Color program. Of this group, more than 67 percent have confirmed their enrollment at WSU. Those who enroll at WSU are also eligible for a $2,000, four-year scholarship.

The enrollment rate from this program far surpasses the average yield rates for students of color, said organizers, demonstrating in the first two years that the program is fulfilling one of its principal purposes—to give students of color the confidence to select WSU from among the many other offers they may receive.

During the past 10 years, WSU’s enrollment of students of color has nearly doubled, yet the percentage of ethnic minorities at the university still lags the diverse makeup of the state and national population. Scholarships will help to close the gap by giving more individuals from underrepresented groups the financial means and incentive to pursue a higher education.