Alumni lifelong support of education includes $100,000 contribution to their endowment

Carole Strobl and Don Fiscus share a lifetime of connection to one another and to CMU. They became neighbors and lifelong family friends in 1946 — she was four years old and he was six. They dated in junior high and high school, and each went on to study at CMU.

“Don was my dancing instructor at Mesa Junior College in my freshman year of 1959. Of course, I received an A for the class!” Carole said.

Don, Carole and their late spouses all graduated from CMU and all four served in education locally. Carole married Robert in 1960 and Don married Janet in 1964. Don taught 5th and 6th grades for 31 years while Janet was involved as educational support staff. Carole was a library technician at Grand Junction High School and Robert taught numerous firefighting classes to western Colorado volunteer fire departments.

After Janet died in 2008 and Robert died in 2009, Don called Carole and invited her to dinner. From there, their relationship renewed.

In their long conversations they discovered common dreams, which included continuing to support educational endeavors. In honor of Robert and Janet the Strobl Fiscus Endowment was created — a dream Carole and Don had each discussed with their late spouses.

The endowment awards six scholarships per year. Two for first-generation students because Don, Carole and Robert were the first in their respective families to earn a college degree. Two in theatre arts because they all enjoyed the theatre and the friendship of the late William Robinson, CMU’s theatre namesake. The final two scholarships are for teacher education in honor of Miss Fanny Bartcher, Don and Carole’s 5th and 6th grade teacher, who inspired them to study education and in honor of their families’ teaching and education careers.

Carole and Don always dreamed of travel but their spouses weren’t interested or able. Together, they found a love of cruises enjoying the lectures, tours, dinners, slots, theatre shows and of course dancing.

In 2020, they were extremely disappointed to cancel a 118-day world cruise due to COVID-19.

“As such, we decided to make something good out of our disappointment,” Carole said.

That something good was a $100,000 contribution to their endowment. “Over the years, we have received so many nice thank-you letters from our scholarship recipients. The letters not only inspire us, but also give us a hopeful glimpse for the future. We are grateful to be able to help, in some small way, students achieve their goals of learning,” Carole said.