Fritz named Gates Millennium Scholar

Fritz named Gates Millennium Scholar Margaret Fritz, daughter of Gordon and Dorothy Fritz of Sioux Falls, is the first University of South Dakota student to be named as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Fritz is currently pursuing an M.A. degree in computer science.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program represents the largest private gift to higher education in the history of the United States. The grant is $1 billion over 20 years. The initiative is aimed at expanding access to higher education for high achieving African-Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Americans and Hispanic Americans. The program is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the United Negro College Fund in partnership with the American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Organization of Chinese Americans who represent Asian Pacific American community. The scholarship helps to cover the costs of tuition and fees, books and costs of living for eligible students. William (Bill) H. Gates is chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corporation, the leading provider, worldwide of software for the personal computer.

Fritz, a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Marty, is a non-traditional student at USD. She earned her bachelor's degree in liberal studies at The University of South Dakota and maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies. Fritz, a single mother, also works on campus as a tutor and teacher of computer science.

"This scholarship will make attending school less difficult by allowing me to focus more on my studies," said Fritz. "The faculty and staff at USD, especially Billie James, have been tremendously supportive throughout my career as a student at USD."

Fritz was one of approximately 4,000 students selected from more than 62,000 individuals who were nominated for the scholarship. James, manager of student support services at USD, nominated Fritz for the scholarship. "Margaret is a jewel," said James. "She's a delight to have in the classroom and she's a true scholar."

"Margaret has diverse interests and she excels at everything she tries," said James. "She was constantly sought after by different departments at the university who wanted her to pursue their course of study as her major."

Students must be nominated and are required to have a minimum 3.30 grade point average and demonstrate leadership skills and community involvement. The program is directed at students who would otherwise face significant financial hardship in attending school.

Fritz and her son, Anthony, 14, reside in Vermillion.

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