Humboldt State University

First Presidential Scholarship Recipient Prepares to Graduate

Everett Heath

As HSU seniors prepare to graduate later this week, many of those who walk across the stage in Redwood Bowl will have received financial support from a donor-funded scholarship or award. Among those graduating students is Everett Heath (‘18, Microbiology), the first recipient of the Mary & Foster Keller Scholarship.

The Mary & Foster Keller Scholarship is significant for a number of reasons: It is HSU’s first-ever Presidential Scholarship, which is an endowment created by a contribution of $100,000 or more that provides a student with scholarship support for 4 years. Endowments are permanently invested funds that generate income every year for charitable purposes. In this case, the Mary & Foster Keller Scholarship endowment yields an annual award of $4,000 per student recipient, which means it can cover half the cost of tuition during a student’s career at Humboldt State.

Everett, a Microbiology major, who first received the scholarship in 2015, has received the $4,000 award each subsequent year, allowing him to focus on his major’s demanding coursework. “The Mary & Foster Keller Scholarship has benefited me a lot the past few years. I first received this scholarship during a rough time in my life and it helped me get back on my feet, allowing me to focus on school rather than taking more hours at a job,” says Everett.

Donor Jennifer Keller established the Mary & Foster Keller Scholarship to honor her parents and support the work of talented, deserving students in pursuit of higher education. “Both my parents attended public universities (as did I). And they loved HSU! They would drive to Arcata from their little house in Trinidad full of anticipation for the lectures, plays, musical events and theater they could enjoy there. Mary and Foster often commented that HSU had turned what was once an isolated rural area into an engine of culture, innovation and opportunity.” 

HSU continues to be an engine of opportunity for students, and scholarship donors like Jennifer provide fuel for that engine. The Mary & Foster Keller Scholarship has helped propel Everett toward his future career, where he hopes to pursue work in the biotechnology sector after graduation. “I plan to look for a job in Humboldt, but I’m also considering some biotech firms in the Bay Area. I want to build my experience. My dream is to become an astrobiologist and study biological material from the stars.”

Helping students like Everett move in the direction of their dreams is a profound way for Jennifer to honor her parents’ legacy. “Nothing would make my parents happier than to know that someone as talented as Everett had benefited from a scholarship named for them, so he could pursue his dreams. For me as a donor, it’s immensely satisfying to be able to provide Everett with some of the support that I enjoyed when California more fully subsidized its great universities. I look forward to seeing all he will achieve, and hope he can play a role in saving our planet!”

Awards like the Mary & Foster Keller Scholarship help students stay here, succeed, and experience the excitement of graduating with an HSU degree. There are many options for supporting student scholarships at HSU. You can learn more about scholarships at, or make a contribution to the HSU Student Success Scholarship on our Giving page.

Let us show you how easy it is to make a difference in the life of a student. For more information visit, email the Office of Philanthropy at, or call 707-826-5200.