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Cruzan VIRIL Adds $40,000 to Support UVI Scholarships

A $40,000 contribution in support of student scholarships was presented by long-time University of the Virgin Islands supporter Cruzan VIRIL Ltd. at a check presentation on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Cruzan Rum distillery on St. Croix.

Cruzan VIRIL Ltd. President and Chief Executive Officer Gary C. Nelthropp and Chief Financial Officer Marvin L. Pickering were on hand to make the presentation to UVI President Dr. David Hall and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dionne V. Jackson. The gift brings the total Cruzan donation to the University, since 1987, to $655,000.

"In these fiscally tight times in the territory, this gift from Cruzan Rum is even more important than in past years," said President Hall. "The University has fewer resources to operate with now than in the past. Therefore we need the generosity of the private sector in order to support our students in their quest for academic excellence. This gift goes to the heart of UVI and comes from the heart of Cruzan Rum."

"Last year Cruzan Rum stepped up our charitable giving from $25,000 to $40,000. We are proud to continue our support at the $40,000 level this year," said Cruzan's Nelthropp during the presentation. "The University of the Virgin Islands is important to our future. Over the years we have acquired several key staff members who are graduates of UVI. We hope, in the future, we will be able to hire more people from the University because we have this tremendous resource in our backyard."

Click photo for larger view. Cruzan VIRIL Ltd. presented a check for $40,000 to support scholarships at the University of the Virgin Islands in a ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Cruzan Rum distillery office on St. Croix. On hand for the presentation were, from left, Cruzan General Manager Dennis P. Potter, Cruzan Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Marvin L. Pickering, Cruzan President and Chief Executive Officer Gary C. Nelthropp, UVI President Dr. David Hall, UVI Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dionne V. Jackson, Cruzan Accounting Assistant Narissa T. Mapp and Cruzan Assistant Office Manager Magdalen Joseph.

"Making these annual investments to the University of the Virgin Islands, my alma mater, never gets old," said Marvin Pickering, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Cruzan VIRIL Ltd., and a proud graduate of UVI's class of 1985. "I continue to feel a great sense of pride in what our company is doing to enable Virgin Islanders seeking a higher education here at home to accomplish their dreams."

"We are committed to maintaining this partnership with the University that we established close to 25 years ago to provide much needed scholarships and financial assistance to ease the burden on those in need," Pickering said. "We are very proud to have UVI graduates employed at our company and their performance speaks well to the education they received at UVI. I am proud that we are making this investment in education in our community."

"UVI's partnership with Cruzan Rum exemplifies how local Economic Development Company (EDC) companies can give back to the community," said UVI's Jackson. "The University is working to establish more partnerships like this throughout the territory."

Jackson went on to say, "Scholarship support is often the deciding factor for many students considering higher education. This funding will help tip the scales in favor of those in need of financial assistance."

Cruzan VIRIL Ltd. and the Nelthropp family - a subsidiary of Beam Global Spirits and Wine - have been making light, dark, flavored and spiced rums on St. Croix for eight generations.

Along with its annual contributions in support of UVI scholarships, Cruzan VIRIL Ltd. established an endowed UVI scholarship in recognition of the late Knud Oliver Parris in 2000. Parris, who was the longest tenured employee of Cruzan VIRIL Ltd. when he died in 1997, had been employed at the distillery for more than 45 years.

Learn more about Cruzan VIRIL Ltd. on their website

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the University of the Virgin Islands and its students are encouraged to contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (340) 693-1040. More information is available from the UVI website: