CDEP breaks record at annual awards luncheon

March 2, 2011 – The 28th Annual Cooperative Developmental Energy Program Awards Luncheon at Fort Valley State University is similar to “signing day” for star athletes. College coaches woo players, wave hefty scholarship packages and after athletes sign to the team, hoopla is heard around the country. This week, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students who are CDEP participants received the same celebrity treatment. “CDEP helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’ll begin this fall as a chemistry major at FVSU,” said Houston County High School senior Brandon Clark. “I’m feeling good. This is my day,” Clark said. In a crowded room of parents, FVSU administrators and staff, oil company executives, FVSU CDEP seniors and alumni, Clark and 14 high school students from throughout Georgia received praise, lucrative scholarships and were christened in caps with matching hoodies bearing the colors of colleges and mascots.
From FVSU, CDEP graduates are heading to summer internships; then to Penn State, the University of Texas-Austin, Georgia Tech, the University of Arkansas and the University of Las Vegas for advanced degrees. Their tuition and expenses are paid for with contributions from Shell Oil, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, BP America, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the Southern Company and the U.S. Geological Survey. This year, donations presented at the annual luncheon totaled over $2 million. A $1.5 million contribution presented by Congressman Sanford Bishop’s district director Kenneth J. Cutts, on behalf of President Obama, the U.S. Department of Defense and Bishop, surprised the audience and helped set a CDEP record for the largest amount of money ever collected at a luncheon.

“Today, we collected the highest amount in 28 years. It’s rewarding to see the executives return every year,” said CDEP founder and director, Dr. Isaac Crumbly. TheFVSU Vice President of Career and Collaborative Programs submitted an application for Congressional funding through Bishop’s office and the proposal was pushed through to approval. Another surprise presentation stirred luncheon guests. Fort Valley Mayor John Stumbo proclaimed Feb. 28 “Dr. Isaac Crumbly Day”; then, program host Tramond Baisden, an FVSU CDEP Math/Petroleum Engineering student quipped, “It should be a federal holiday with classes cancelled!”

A stream of young CDEP scholars described heartwarming stories about touring the campuses of FVSU partner universities and geological sites.

For information about CDEP, please call (478) 825-6243 or visithttp://past.fvsu.edu/academics/cdep.