Today, exactly one year after CSU staff member Rebecca Allen was hit and killed by a drunk driver while riding her bike in Fort Collins, her family and co-workers are awarding scholarships to deserving journalism students to keep her memory alive.
Last year, two Rebecca Allen JT Memorial Scholarships equaling $1,000 each were awarded to two senior journalism and technical communication students Maggie Canty and Marcella Burg.
All journalism students are eligible to apply for the scholarship through the CSU Scholarship Application in the College of Liberal Arts section.
CSUSA is available online at RAMweb beginning Dec. 1 each year for the next academic year. The application deadline is March 1 of the following calendar year at 11 p.m.
While all journalism students are encouraged to apply, the Allen family hopes to award the scholarship to students who knew Rebecca Allen, said Greg Luft, the chair of the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication. But as time goes by, the chances of finding students who were familiar with the 2002 CSU graduate and later undergraduate program administrator for the JTC department are waning, he said.
The scholarship committee looks for students who are well-rounded, volunteer, demonstrate a passion for media and “someone that exemplifies what Rebecca Allen was all about,” said Kris Kodrich, chair of the JTC Scholarship Committee.
“Rebecca Allen was so beloved by students, faculty and staff that the scholarship is really just a way of honoring her memory and what she meant to the department,” he said.
Kodrich visited Allen’s family earlier this month on a trip to Wisconsin. While there, Allen’s father showed Kodrich a bench that a member of the family had built and erected on a bike trail in Sheboygan Falls that read, “In Memory of Rebecca Gumptow Allen Avid Bicyclist.”
To-date, Allen’s friends and family have donated about $9,000 to the scholarship. They are aiming to raise $25,000 to establish the RAJTMS as an endowed scholarship, or one that is made permanent at the university and is awarded consistently, as determined by its creators.
Much of the current money was raised at a bike-in cinema memorial event hosted by New Belgium Brewery in September. Nearly 1,000 people showed up to the special benefit showing of the Coen brothers’ classic, “The Big Lebowski” to celebrate Allen’s life and love of biking.
Luft said the money in the fund now should last five to six years, but that timeframe could change depending on the number and the value of scholarships awarded as determined by the Allen family.
At about 5:20 a.m. on July 22, Daniel Price, the then 20-year-old Front Range Community College student, hit Allen and her friend with his car from behind while driving on West Drake Road.
Allen was transported to Poudre Hospital where she later died of her injuries. Her friend, Jennifer Garvey, who suffered serious injuries, was treated at the Medical Center for the Rockies.
Fort Collins Police Services reported that both cyclists were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
Price plead guilty to vehicular homicide and careless driving in a plea agreement at the Larimer County Court House on Nov. 14. Joseph Gavaldon, Price’s private criminal defense attorney and the DA agreed to the terms of sentence.
On Jan. 16, in front of his family and friends and those of Rebecca Allen, Price was sentenced to eight years in prison by Judge Jolene Blair, the Larimer County judge presiding over the case.
Additionally, Price will serve five years on parole followed by two years probation and 80 hours of community service, 50 of which he is mandated to serve with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Price is currently housed in the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canyon City, about 20 miles north of Pueblo. FCF, the state’s largest correctional facility, is classified as a medium security, mixed custody institution that houses about 1,200 inmates.
At his January sentencing, in front of about 80 people, Price said, “I know that I have to go to prison. I gladly accept that.” He looked back at Allen’s family and friends for a brief moment and said, “I’m sorry . I can’t say anything else.”
In his address to the court, Price asked Judge Blair if he could face the Allen family to apologize, and after he was denied his request, continued to glance over his shoulder.
At the end of his statement, Price said quietly, “I would do anything to give my life to give hers back.”
News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.