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Delta Zeta alumna surprises sisters with more scholarships

April 26, 2012
 Susan Perry-Lindle
Susan Perry-Lindle stands outside of the Delta Zeta house in Eau Claire. Perry-Lindle has awarded 22 scholarships to UW-Eau Claire students since 2007.
EAU CLAIRE — An alumna recently paid a surprise visit to members of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire chapter of Delta Zeta to announce that she is funding more scholarships to support their work.

Susan Patterson Perry-Lindle, a 1971 social welfare graduate, has been providing scholarships to Delta Zeta members each year since 2007. When she was on campus last fall for her annual visit to help members with Panhellenic recruitment, she announced that she had established an endowment of $15,000 through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation to support those scholarships indefinitely. To date, she has awarded 22 scholarships ranging from $250-$500.

This time she attended the sorority's spring initiation, on the 44th anniversary of her own initiation, to deliver more good news. There were so many impressive applications for 2012-13 that it was difficult to select just one or two recipients. Perry-Lindle offered to sponsor all of the students who applied, which will result in eight awards.

"I remember what it was like. I had two jobs, I was in work study and it was difficult keeping up in school and staying active in the chapter," said Perry-Lindle. "I ask for input from the chapter president in awarding the scholarships. I read what they are doing and how they are making a difference, and I'm gratified to see all that the girls are accomplishing, including service to their community."

According to senior Keri Nolan, an art major from White Bear Lake, Minn., and past vice president of recruitment for the chapter, Perry-Lindle is a beloved guest at the Delta Zeta house. Every year since 2005, she returns to help organize events and promote lifelong commitment to the pillars of Delta Zeta — scholarship, sisterhood and philanthropy. She says she looks forward to the trip all year and appreciates the hospitality shown by the students. She stays in the sorority house with them.

Nolan said she appreciates the help at a time that can be very stressful for members.

"Everyone looks forward to her coming. She's very peppy and she just brings a great attitude. Delta Zeta is her passion," said Nolan, who is among the recipients of Perry-Lindle's scholarships.

"Looking back now, if she hadn't extended a scholarship to me, I don't know how I would be paying for dues this year," Nolan said.

Shelby May, a junior accounting major from Eau Claire, is president of the chapter and a 2011-12 scholarship recipient. In addition to all that Perry-Lindle does to serve and support the chapter, she embodies what it means to be a Delta Zeta — to give one's time, talent and treasure, May said.

 Delta Zeta alumna Susan Patterson Perry-Lindle
Susan Perry-Lindle surprised  chapter president Shelby May, a junior accounting major from Eau Claire, and her sorority sisters with news that she would award eight scholarships to Delta Zeta members for the 2012-13 academic year.
"Susan also donates to our philanthropic efforts, yet another example of her amazing generosity and love for Delta Zeta," May said. "When Susan told me she planned to give to all the applicants this year, I was in awe of her tremendous generosity, just as all of my sisters were when she announced the recipients of the scholarship."

As soon as she graduated, Perry-Lindle went on to a 26-year career in the U.S. Army, during which she traveled the world and helped expand military service opportunities for women. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, she completed basic training in the Women's Army Corps and was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1994, when there were only 25 female colonels in the Military Intelligence Corps.

Perry-Lindle later became the first female Army officer assigned to a combat brigade of an infantry division in Europe. Her career also included a term at NATO's Headquarters in Izmir, Turkey, and in Germany. At the time of her retirement, she was the executive officer for the deputy chief of staff for intelligence at the Pentagon and received numerous military awards and decorations.

"I did things I never thought that I could do and experienced so much by spending time in other countries," Perry-Lindle said, adding that she now encourages Delta Zeta members to study abroad.

Perry-Lindle was a member of UW-Eau Claire's Epsilon Omega chapter of Delta Zeta from 1968-71 and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association in 2004.

"I was very fortunate to have Delta Zeta as my family and my focus," said Perry-Lindle, who joined the sorority as a freshman. "It became hard for me to separate my life from sorority life because they were so intimately entwined."

Perry-Lindle now resides in Edgewood, Ky., and serves on the advisory team for the Kappa Beta Chapter of the Delta Zeta sorority at Northern Kentucky University. She also funds scholarships for their chapter and contributes annually to the Delta Zeta Foundation.

"In the military we learn that the best way to inspire people is to lead by example," Perry-Lindle said.

For more information about Perry-Lindle's scholarship and other scholarship funds, visit the UW-Eau Claire Foundation website.

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JT/RD/DW

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