Dempsey gives $500,000 to Willamette University for environmental studies

In recognition of Heather Dempsey’s passionate dedication to Willamette University, The Dempsey Foundation established a $500,000 scholarship fund for environmental and earth sciences students.

Neal Dempsey announced the gift while meeting with guests prior to climatologist James Hansen’s March 20 Dempsey Lecture.

Heather Dempsey graduated cum laude from Willamette University in 1997 with a bachelor’s in environmental science and Spanish. She earned her master’s in environmental management from Yale and joined Willamette’s Board of Trustees in 2004.

Professor Joe Bowersox is the Dempsey Endowed Chair in Environmental Policy and Politics, and he oversees the Dempsey Lecture Series.

“Heather and the Dempsey family are the reason we can bring such notable scholars and speakers to Salem each year,” Bowersox said. “Heather’s personal engagement reinforces Willamette’s commitment to preparing students who create a sustainable world.”
“Scholarships and environmental stewardship are wise investments in young people and our future,” Neal Dempsey added. “Seeing the outcomes of Heather’s work with Willamette’s outstanding faculty and students, I know this contribution will continue to make a difference to individuals and their communities.”

The lecture series has featured nationally renowned speakers — such as Paul Hawken, Majora Carter and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — who discussed environmental issues. Delivered to a capacity crowd within Rogers Music Center, Hansen’s lecture marked the series’ tenth anniversary.