Photo provided by: The Boettcher Foundation
By Marcia Neville | University Communications
DENVER - He’s an incoming University of Colorado Denver freshman. He’s ranked number one in his high school class and has a 4.24 GPA. He’s an Eagle Scout, a volunteer, an actor and a musician. And, now, Fort Morgan High School senior Trenton Klimper can add Boettcher Scholar to his list of accomplishments.
In a highly competitive selection process, only 40 graduating seniors statewide receive the honor each year. The four-year, 'full-ride' merit scholarships are good at any university in the state. Klimper has elected to bring his Boettcher to CU Denver.
Klimper's decision is big news, especially in the office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
“Having another Boettcher Scholar choose CU Denver has been a goal of ours,” explained Raul Cardenas, Ph.D. “The Boettcher represents quality academics, it’s a marker. Klimper’s decision to attend CU Denver shows that we meet the needs of the really academic-minded students. Being part of the Boettcher tradition of excellence is a big opportunity for us and one we will continue to build on.”
Klimper is a self-acknowledged small-town boy. He grew up in McCook, Neb., before moving to Fort Morgan for high school. He says the first time he came to the Auraria Campus he knew that this is where he wanted to go to college. After some online research, Klimper discovered CU Denver’s unique BA/BS-MD combined degree program and made that his goal.
The prestigious BA/BS-MD program is a partnership between the CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the CU School of Medicine. Only 10 students are accepted into the program each year. Being accepted enables the students to earn a reserved seat in the CU School of Medicine provided she/he meets a specific set of required standards. Students spend the first four years of the program earning their bachelor’s degree at CU Denver.
“The opportunity to have a reserved seat in one of the top medical schools in the country is something more valuable than any amount of money,” Klimper said. “As a high school senior I have been given a gift that is beyond description, the promise of a world-class education at CU Denver and at the CU School of Medicine.”
Klimper was overwhelmed when he learned he had been accepted into the program and would be spending the next eight years in downtown Denver and at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
“After I choked out the news to my mother, I knew I had to share the moment with someone else who is special in my life. So, I put on the suit I had interviewed in, bought some flowers, drove three hours to McCook, and told my grandmother. She was just as overjoyed as my mother had been.”
One of the focuses of the BA/BS-MD program is to assemble outstanding students with broadly diverse backgrounds, including those from rural communities. Klimper understands how important his education could be for small towns like the ones he’s grown up in.
He says one of the few disadvantages of small-town life is the lack of doctors. “I know firsthand that there is a strong need for more passionate doctors to care for residents of rural America. I have gained so much from my small town upbringing that I can think of no better way to return the generosity that I’ve received than by practicing medicine in a similar underserved, yet wonderful, community.”
Klimper will enter CU Denver in the fall. He will be joined by BA/BS-MD classmates from the Denver metro area, the mountains, and northern Colorado. They are the fourth class to start the program and will enter the School of Medicine in the fall of 2017. They are the first BA/BS-MD class to include a Boettcher Scholar.
“With his Boettcher Scholarship, Klimper’s presence here at CU Denver validates who we are and what we do,” says Cardenas. “Having highly talented scholars in our student body is a compliment to all the hard work put in by our faculty and staff.”
On a recent class field trip, CU Denver's newest Boettcher Scholar spent the day learning first hand about anatomy. And, you could hear the excitement in Klimper's voice when he said, “I got to play with cadaver bodies! I can’t call it studying because I had so much fun.”
It’s a passion Klimper plans to take beyond CU Denver and the CU School of Medicine, all the way back to his small-town roots. “I want to serve my community by giving aid and saving lives,” he said. “I dream to be a healer.”