CWU News

CWU Celebrates the Coca-Cola First Generation Student Scholarship Recipients

For the past two years, CWU has been honored to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation supporting first-generation college students and their aspirations for their education.

On Monday, November 13, the CWU Foundation hosted the first scholarship luncheon for students who received the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship. The luncheon gave scholarship recipients a chance to personally thank George Allen, director of Public Affairs and Communications, West Region, at The Coca-Cola Foundation, for its generous support.

The students also had an opportunity to tell their stories of how the scholarship has changed their lives and impacted the lives of those surrounding them as well.

Elizabeth Keke of Yakima, who is originally from Kenya, Africa, was inspired by the Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholarship to continue her dream of graduating from a university.

“When I came to Central I thought I would get financial aid like I did at YVCC,” Keke said. “I realized they couldn’t cover my whole tuition. I thought there is no way I could continue. I was so discouraged. I thought, ‘I will have to wait there is no way we can pay this.’ I haven’t struggled at all because of this scholarship,” Keke continued. “I was able to buy a new book for the first time."

The students' stories were poignant, powerful, and thought provoking, and revealed the barriers and challenges they overcame to go to college.

CWU president James Gaudino, provost Katherine Frank, University Advancement vice president Scott Wade, and University Advancement associate vice president Rick Paradis also attended the event.

“This is the second time that CWU has received this award from The Coca-Cola Foundation and we look forward to continued collaboration with this unique and much-needed funding program,” Wade said, adding, “We are also glad to be able to bring the students together with Mr. Allen, to express their feelings and gratitude.”

Earlier in 2017, The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded CWU $150,000 to support 15 first generation students with $10,000 scholarships. Recipients receive $5,000 during their junior year and, if they maintain a 3.0 grade point average and continue to make progress towards their degree, they’ll receive a second $5,000 for their senior year.

The Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship at CWU is an achievement-based scholarship for students who are being recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities.

Photo caption, Coca-Cola Scholarship recipients, (l to r), Oanh Phan, Ashley Arriaga, Jose Mondaca, George Allen – Director of Public Affairs and Communications at The Coca Cola Foundation, Michael Cartagena, Erik Ramirez

Photo caption: Elizabeth in Kenya: Elizabeth Keke

Media Contact: Annie Young, Director, University Advancement Communications, Office: 509-963-2847, Cell: 425-533-6013,