Learning to Make A Difference 

Alumnus creates educational endowment for WSU in his parents' name

Although they knew it would be financially difficult to send their 10 children to college, Ted and Judith Parke always encouraged their kids to pursue higher education. Their son, James “Jim” Parke, heeded their advice and graduated from Weber State University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.

Parke’s degree from WSU was the springboard to a successful life. He went on to earn a Master of Law from New York University and a Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University. He is the president and CEO of Blue Ocean Enterprises in Fort Collins, Colorado. He previously worked in Denver as a corporate and tax attorney with Holland & Hart LLP, and then with Minor & Brown, P.C.

Parke says his accomplishments are a result of his education and his family’s emphasis on academics. Today, he is honoring his mom and dad by creating a scholarship in their names for students studying political science. “Many of their children and grandchildren attended Weber State,” Parke said. The scholarship is also a way for Parke to pay forward the generosity of those who supported him financially in college.

“When I was at Weber, money was short at times. I was the beneficiary of many scholarships,” Parke said. “To be able to provide the same opportunity is important to me.”

Francis Harrold, dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, is grateful for the gift.

“I am deeply appreciative of Jim Parke, and of all our alumni who give to scholarships,” Harrold said. “They make a big difference in the lives of our students, often enabling them to stay in school on a full-time basis and graduate on time.”

Parke believes education is a search for truth, and hopes that people aren’t just learning to learn, but learning to make a difference.

“Giving back is an expression of gratitude for what you’ve received,” Parke said. “No one is where they’re at based on just their own doing. Giving back is a way to perpetuate the help cycle.”