First UNC Honors Alum Gives Back to Future Educators

paul heidger

August 16, 2017

A gift from alumnus Paul Heidger ’63, along with a matching grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, to provide $113,000 investment in UNC’s honors program.

Heidger, a graduate of the university’s inaugural honors class, recently established the Barbara Heidger Opportunity Scholarship Endowment in honor of his late wife. The two met as honor students at UNC, then Colorado State College, when the institution created the honors program in 1959.

“I sincerely hope this scholarship bearing Barbara’s name, together with knowledge of her life story and accomplishments in education, in promotion of global awareness and peace, and in self-giving service to others may assist similarly inspired young women and men at UNC to reach their life goals and full potential,” Paul said.

Heidger and his family established the fund to honor Barbara’s legacy and her passion for international students. Earnings will be used to support current and incoming honors students, with a preference for those interested in international relations and education. Heidger plans to establish an additional honors program scholarship for students interested in science.

“The generous gift from Paul and his family will provide support for years to come. These scholarships help UNC to recruit the best and brightest into our Honors Program, which seeks to develop tomorrow's problem solvers,” said UNC Director for Honors and Scholars Loree Crow. “Scholarship support of these motivated students is essential to building the strongest cohorts and is invaluable to the individual students who often need just a little extra to help them succeed at their highest potential.”

Paul Heidger ’63 and Barbara (Hyslop) Heidger ’63 first met as members of the inaugural Honors class, and the bonds and memories formed between them, their classmates and professors have lasted a lifetime.

At Paul and Barbara’s wedding, fellow honors classmate, Bill Hayes, served as best man and classmate Sharon Wilson (now a UNC Professor Emerita) was one of Barbara’s attendants. Dr. Eugene Koplitz, UNC professor and first honors program director, and honors Professor Dr. Forrest Frease and their families were honored guests.

Paul and Barbara were dedicated to their passions – Paul’s in biology and Barbara’s in international affairs – and both achieved accomplished paths of service to their professions. Barbara’s untimely passing in 1994 at the height of her personal and professional life impacted family, students, colleagues and friends around the world. She was a devoted wife and mother to their daughters, Julie and Lisa, and a passionate educator and ambassador for international understanding. Paul recently retired from the University of Iowa, where he was a professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

Paul’s initial gift of $60,000 created the endowment and, through a Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, much of Paul’s gift will be matched, bringing the total impact on the Honors Program to approximately $113,000. The Honors Program plans to use these funds to create scholarships for exceptional incoming freshmen and to attract more top honors students to UNC.

The Campaign for UNC goal is $45 million, and every dollar and every donor counts. Donors from across our community are contributing to the mission and success of UNC students, faculty and programs. Every gift matters. Gifts of all amounts are moving the mark and letting UNC's new generation know that Bears take care of Bears.