||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
UW-Eau Claire Scholarship Fund|
Established In Wife's Memory
MAILED: Jan. 8, 1999|
At first glance, the new scholarship fund established with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation in memory of Dorothy F. Burkart appears to have originated in the spirit of philanthropy.
But there's more than meets the eye, as the $140,000 fund is actually the end result of a husband's devotion to his wife's memory and hometown.
Born in 1912 and raised in Eau Claire, Burkart moved to New Jersey after marrying Edward Courter while serving in the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Although she lived in the Garden State until her death, she came back to her hometown on a number of occasions over the years.
When Burkart died in 1981 as a result of a car accident, Courter searched for a way to memorialize his wife's name. He then sought the advice of his nephew by marriage, Richard Gannon, who suggested the idea of honoring her memory through a donation in her name to UW-Eau Claire.
In 1995, after visiting the university with Gannon, Courter decided the best way to recognize his wife would be to establish a scholarship fund in her name for above-average students in need. Courter donated $10,000 toward the formation of a scholarship and also decided to give his estate to the fund upon his death. He died in 1996.
"I asked him if he wanted his name attached to the scholarship but he flatly refused," Gannon said. "He had a deep love for Dorothy and wanted to perpetuate only her memory, not his."
In September, the estate, worth more than $140,000, was delivered to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Inc. and allowed for the formation of three endowed scholarships totaling $7,000, said Jerry Richards, director of planned giving at UW-Eau Claire.
They include the $1,000 Dorothy F. Burkart Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship, which will be matched by general purpose revenue dollars from the state of Wisconsin, making it worth $2,500; the $5,000 Dorothy F. Burkart National Merit Scholarship for one or more nationally recognized students; and the $1,000 Dorothy F. Burkart Graduate Fellowship.
The scholarships will be awarded on an annual basis starting next year.
"This was a very selfless act of love and respect for his wife," Richards said of Courter. "This love, this drive never quieted down within him. He always wanted this expression."
Gannon, who is a senior vice president at Firstar Bank in Eau Claire and a 1959 UW-Eau Claire graduate, said he is proud to see the fund support students at UW-Eau Claire.
"I'm really pleased to see this happen," Gannon said. "I've seen the university grow to become a quality school, and it's nice to see these scholarships help students gain an education here."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Jan. 13, 1999