Native American Endowed Scholarship Triples in Size at Augustana

February 28, 2019
Delpha and Robert Mattison

Augustana is happy to announce a major donation to its Prairie Sage Scholarship Endowment. This gift, along with several other recent gifts that it inspired, has tripled the size of the endowment to $115,000. The gift was given in honor of Delpha Mattison, an Augustana alumna (class of 1970).

“Delpha loved her time at Augustana and often remarked they were some of the best years of her life,” said her husband, Robert Mattison. “She dedicated her life to making a positive impact in her community and the world around her. It is our family’s hope that this donation will enable future generations of students to do the same.” Delpha was married to Robert for 65 years and passed away in 2015.

The Prairie Sage Scholarship Endowment was established in 2016 by Augustana professor Dr. David O’Hara and his wife, Rev. Christina O’Hara, along with several other faculty members who wish to remain anonymous.

The endowment is intended to help these students preserve and foster native cultures and art. The donors hope that eventually the scholarship will provide full tuition to Native American and First Nations students who have chosen to study storytelling academic disciplines like journalism, law, history, language, literature, philosophy, art, anthropology, and religion.

The endowment currently supports one full-time Native American student at Augustana who is pursuing a degree in anthropology.

“The preservation of Native American art and culture is critical,” said Dr. O’Hara, Augustana professor of philosophy and chair of the department of religion, philosophy, and classics. "No one is in a better position to do that work of preservation than Native Americans themselves. We hope to help students who want to do that work to get an education they can make use of at Augustana, and to graduate without debt.”

Augustana is in an ideal situation to foster cultural preservation. This endowment aligns not only with the university’s core values but also with the newly announced Vision 2030 strategic initiative, specifically around diversity.

To learn more about giving to this or other endowments, visit

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