Longtime DU Supporter Expands Efforts to Help Students
University takes extremely rare step of creating an endowed director position
It’s a difficult challenge that all college campuses face: how to help students struggling with alcohol and substance abuse and prevent it from happening in the first place. It’s this challenge that led Denver resident Marilyn Girouard to become closely involved with DU’s Health and Counseling Center and its alcohol and drug prevention efforts.
Girouard’s son, Louis Richard Girouard III, worked for some years treating young people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. He died in 2004, at the age of 39. Girouard wanted to continue her son’s work and honor him at the same time. She began making annual contributions to DU that went toward alcohol and substance abuse education.
“She really enjoys hearing about what the students are engaging in,” says Sarah Belstock, the center’s director of health promotion. “The funding she has provided for many years allows us to expand the scope and impact of alcohol-prevention programs.” In addition to educational programs and campaigns, the Health and Counseling Center helps fund substance-free social events that are hosted by student groups, including fraternities and sororities.
In honoring her son’s memory, she is ensuring that DU students will forever receive education and resources to make positive choices in the face of high-risk options
This year, Girouard has decided to expand her commitment to this effort. Belstock’s position has been renamed the Louis Richard Girouard III Director of Health Promotion and Education. This funding will ensure a permanent endowment to support the efforts of the Health Promotion Department.
“I am so pleased to have this endowment in my son’s name and to support the program he was interested in, as well as myself,” says Girouard. This is believed to be the first and only endowed director of health promotion in the country.
“In honoring her son’s memory, she is ensuring that DU students will forever receive education and resources to make positive choices in the face of high-risk options,” says Armin Afsahi, vice chancellor for university advancement. “Endowed staff positions are extremely rare, and Marilyn’s gift reinforces the University’s commitment to students in all areas of life during their educational journey at DU.”
Belstock appreciates how rare this endowment is and what it means to have the additional funding and support from someone in the DU community.
“It’s pretty unique to have a community member so engaged in this specific area and really so invested in prevention, not just treatment,” Belstock says. “This is an opportunity to continue the legacy Girouard has created in her son’s name and really provide whoever is in my position with that ongoing funding to support programming in those areas.”