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DiVerdi scholarship empowers students, cements legacy

June 25, 2014
Erik Schmidt

College of Natural Sciences alumni remember Professor Leslie DiVerdi as one of the most vibrant and effective mentors in the Department of Chemistry.

Before retiring in 2009, she spent two decades at Colorado State University promoting the field and inspiring legions of undergraduates - many of whom started out unsure of whether they would pursue the sciences at all -to chase their passions.

 Soon, her name will once again fill the hallways. 

The Professor Leslie DiVerdi Scholarship, initiated by Joseph DiVerdi, current CSU faculty member and her longtime partner, is on its way toward endowment and will soon yield yearly awards for chemistry majors.

For the last several years, Leslie has experienced early-onset dementia; she lives in good comfort but is detached from this part of her past.

"We're celebrating her name and what she has meant here," Joseph DiVerdi said. “She was the chief academic advisor for the department and, to a great extent, was the backbone of general chemistry at CSU. She always wanted to work with undergraduates and bring them up.”

Having an impact

Fellow CSU chemist and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar Nancy Levinger has also supported the scholarship and says she’ll always remember Leslie’s compassion, kindness, and influence on young people.

“She had deep knowledge of the material and endless energy for her work,” she said.

Levinger also knows just how much impact programs like this can have.

“This scholarship is near and dear to my heart because it focuses on student performance in physical chemistry, which is often challenging for chemistry students," she said. "It honors excellent performance and encourages our students to excel in this important and very active area of chemistry.”

Jan Nerger, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, said DiVerdi was an "influential and beloved presence on campus."

“She created profound experiences for our students, and the time is right to further cement her name in CSU lore and help today’s chemistry majors begin to make their marks in the field," Nerger said.

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