The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is nationally recognized for the quality and scope of its international study abroad program, but some students are unable to pursue the study abroad experience because of financial limitations. Addressing this need, a UW-Eau Claire professor emeritus has given a $25,000 gift annuity to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation that, upon his death, will establish two study abroad scholarships for students with financial need. Until then, he has pledged an annual gift that will fund an annual study abroad scholarship.
Ronald Schlattman, a UW-Eau Claire professor of business communications for 28 years, established the Ronald D. Schlattman International Study Abroad Fund because he believes in the importance of travel abroad experiences.
"I strongly believe that hope for our troubled world lies with well-educated youth who have a good understanding of the world in which we live," Schlattman said. "This understanding won't come from a two-week vacation to London, but instead by living with people in a foreign country for an extended period of time. Books and talking won't do the same thing."
The fund will provide annual awards to UW-Eau Claire students with great interest and potential, but limited financial resources to pursue study abroad opportunities. Students in the College of Business planning a study abroad experience will have first preference. If no qualified students in the College of Business apply, the scholarship will be awarded to any UW-Eau Claire student, regardless of major, who is planning to study abroad.
"Study abroad is a transformational experience," said Karl Markgraf, director of the Center for International Education at UW-Eau Claire. "Every student who studies abroad returns and describes the multiple ways in which they have been changed by the experience — they are more broad minded, have greater empathy and understanding, they perceive the complexities and nuances of global affairs. Once they have gained another perspective, they begin to understand their own sense of nationality and culture and see themselves as members of the global community. This scholarship will assist students in becoming more than they currently are, by helping them financially to develop that global dimension in their set of skills, abilities, and competencies."
Schlattman received his bachelor of arts degree in business education and distributive education in 1964 from the University of Wyoming and a master's in business education and accounting from the University of Wyoming in 1968. He received a doctoral degree in education from the University of Montana in 1976. He began teaching at UW-Eau Claire in 1971. A former chair of UW-Eau Claire's University Senate, he also chaired several committees within the College of Business and the department of business communication and was the first director of international programs for the College of Business. He retired from UW-Eau Claire in 1999 and lives in Loveland, Colo.
-Source University News Bureau