Matt Mulligan's got milk.
Matt Mulligan's got a milk mustache.
And Matt Mulligan's got a "Got Milk?" scholarship.
Mulligan, a recent Durango High School honors graduate, was awarded the $7,500 scholarship as a Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache Athlete of the Year - one of 25 recipients nationally.
The scholarships were presented to graduating seniors (and committed milk-drinkers) based on academic performance, leadership, extracurricular activities and community service.
This year, the winners were selected from nearly 55,000 applicants.
"It's really cool," Mulligan said recently while taking a break from his job at the family-run Magpie's Newsstand Cafe in downtown Durango - one of two summer jobs for the DHS grad.
"The scholarship ... is definitely going to help," said Mulligan, who will attend Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. "And it's good to be recognized at that level, I suppose."
Mulligan, also known for his accomplishments as a top freestyle skier and budding filmmaker, posted a 4.06 grade point average in high school, where he was ranked in the top 5 percent of his graduating class.
The mogul-skiing wizard was one of the premier competitors on the Durango Freestyle Team. The champion of the Southwest Freestyle Tour, Mulligan also jumped to the podium at the National Junior Olympics the last three years in freestyle skiing.
In 2007, he was the national silver medalist in freestyle. He won bronze nationally in 2008 and 2009.
His film career also took off in high school when he started his own Shadow Puppet Productions company, which focuses on skiing, biking and outdoor-related movies.
His film "Point of Interest" was featured at several ski-film festivals last year. The premiere of the film was held at the Abbey Theatre in Durango last November.
"I'm going to study film, business, journalism ... we'll see how it goes," said Mulligan, who also helped build a house for a homeless family in Juarez, Mexico, while in high school.
Next week, Mulligan will attend an awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., where the "Got Milk?" Scholarship winners will don milk mustaches for a national advertising shoot.
Their "Body By Milk" ad is scheduled to appear in USA Today on June 26.
The scholarship winners also will meet Milk Mustache celebrity guests, including NFL quarterback Kurt Warner and decorated figure skater Michelle Kwan.
"I am so impressed by all 25 of the extremely talented winners this year," said Vivien Godfrey, CEO of the National Milk Mustache Got Milk campaign.
"I'm thrilled that we can continue to recognize and reward students like Matt Mulligan for making smart choices, both in and outside of the classroom and for continuing to make milk a part of their path to success."
Mulligan said he first heard about the milk scholarship opportunity from the counselors at DHS.
"I filled out everything and sent it in," Mulligan said, adding that he was pleasantly surprised when he received the e-mail that indicated he won a scholarship.
His application was accompanied by letters of support, including one from Durango Freestyle head coach and director Kirk Rawles.
"He wrote me a really nice letter. It was really helpful," said Mulligan, the son of Tom and Geri Mulligan of Durango.
"I'm incredibly proud of Matt. I'm really excited for him," said Rawles, who coached Mulligan (and sister Jenna) at Durango Freestyle.
"I'm going to miss Matt and the others (graduating seniors). I've been coaching him for ... half of his life," he said.
A panel of Milk Mustache celebrity judges, including Andy Roddick, Steve Nash, Mia Hamm and Tony Hawk, helped select this year's scholarship winners.
Skiing, of course, will remain an integral part of his life as he heads off to college, Mulligan said, particularly on the film production side.
He said he's also excited about his upcoming trip to Orlando, where he will share his milk scholarship stories with his fellow winners.
"Milk has always been a part of how I keep healthy and fit," Mulligan wrote in his award-winning scholarship application, "so it's fitting that the National Milk Mustache "Got Milk?" campaign is now helping me with college."
The famed milk campaign is managed by the Milk Processor Education Program in Washington, D.C., which is funded by the nation's milk processors.