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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2020 Making An Impact

Family of Former Nike Executive Donates $3 Million to Support Accounting Scholarships

Story by Sue McMurray • Photos by Olivia Spilker
Owen Boreson, a recent graduate of Clarkston High School, is the second recipient of the Hayes Scholarship.

As a young boy growing up on a farm and orchard in the Clarkston Heights, Delbert (Del) Hayes (’57) developed a strong work ethic and an aptitude for business. By age 11, he was managing the family’s tax returns. As he matured, he was known for being decisive, strong-willed, passionate, loyal and generous—key traits that prepared him to be successful in his accounting studies at Washington State University and in his career as Nike’s executive vice president.

He passed away in 2018, but his passion for accounting and acts of generosity continue with a $3 million donation establishing the Delbert J. Hayes Scholarship in Accounting in the WSU Carson College of Business. It will support graduates of Clarkston High School who are enrolled at WSU as full-time, degree-seeking accounting students with at least a 3.0 GPA.

“Our ability to award an annual scholarship that will fund a student’s entire undergraduate education is transformational for us as a college and for students who may not otherwise be able to pursue a degree,” says Chip Hunter, Carson College dean. “At the scholarship’s full capacity, we will be able to support four accounting majors who graduated from Clarkston High School.”

“The idea behind the scholarship was that it could be a tool to significantly help students from the Clarkston community, which was Del’s home town and a place that was special to him,” says Sandra Hayes, Del’s wife.

Sydney Sewell, a junior pursuing a double major in accounting and management information systems and a minor in Spanish, is the college’s first recipient. Deeply thankful for the Hayes family’s generosity, she is the first in her family to attend college and says the scholarship will enable her to graduate without debt next year and take her CPA exam.

“To say I’m honored doesn’t do justice to this incredible opportunity,” says Sewell. “My family and I see my degree as an investment in my future. Some full-ride scholarship recipients might assume that once the financial pressure is off, it’s okay to take it easy. But I’m determined to work even harder toward my goal of becoming a public accountant and make the Carson College and the Hayes family proud that they chose me.”

Owen Boreson, a recent graduate of Clarkston High School, is the second recipient. Boreson held a 3.98 GPA, was a National Honor Society student, and was involved in student leadership activities including DECA and Knowledge Bowl, as well as baseball and jazz band. He is currently studying accounting at WSU.

“Being ‘thankful’ for the Hayes scholarship is a massive understatement for how my family and I are feeling right now,” Boreson says. “The thought of paying student loan debt for years was affecting my decision on what college to attend and what I should study. The fact that the Hayes family was willing to give me this opportunity and a leg up on my future is something I don’t think I could ever thank them enough for. Because of them my life is changed. I am humbled and so excited for my future as a Cougar!”

The family hopes recipients of this scholarship take advantage of a great education in order to someday find their passion and ‘pay it forward’ to the next generation.

For more information about the scholarship process,
contact Michelle chapman, Assistant Director of Student Engagement and Scholarships,
at or 509-335-3473.