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UW-Eau Claire Scholarship Honoring Teacher
and Coach Will Benefit Chippewa Falls
High School Graduates

RELEASED: Jan. 11, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — High school graduates from Chippewa Falls will benefit from a new scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Sydney D. Elstran has made a $25,000 gift to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation to establish the endowed William Elstran Memorial Scholarship in memory of her husband, Bill, who died in February 2004. Bill was a Chippewa Falls native and a graduate of Chippewa Falls High School.

A number of Elstran's friends and former classmates also have made gifts to his memorial. Jan Ver Hagen, a lifetime friend of Bill, and his wife, Kathryn, a UW-Eau Claire Foundation board member and UW-Eau Claire alumna, have made a significant commitment to support the scholarship annually while the endowment is building. They support a similar scholarship for graduates of Memorial High School in memory of their son, Matt.

The first $3,500 William Elstran Memorial Scholarship will be awarded for the 2005-06 academic year to a graduating senior from a Chippewa Falls high school. The award will be given to a "deserving, capable student with a good social conscience, decent grades, financial need and who exhibits a zest for life," the scholarship criteria state. Scholarship application forms are available in Chippewa Falls high school guidance offices.

"Bill believed in living life to the fullest," said Sydney Elstran, who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. "He also loved teaching and coaching, believing he'd never had to work a day in life because he enjoyed what he did so much."

Bill Elstran, who was a teacher and administrator for 30 years, graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1960 with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics. He then taught math and coached football for two years at Oconomowoc High School. In 1962, he took a leave of absence and traveled to Turkey, where he taught and coached football at a high school for military dependents for the Department of Defense. Elstran enjoyed living abroad, and while he returned to the United States to earn a master's degree in mathematics education from Stanford University and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Southern California, he returned to Europe for the remainder of his career. From 1970 to 1981, Elstran served as a principal in high schools for military dependents in Germany, Turkey and England. For the next eight years, he was a curriculum specialist for the Department of Defense schools in Europe. He retired in 1989.

The Elstran gift is recognized as a contribution to Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's comprehensive campaign to benefit UW-Eau Claire's people and programs.

Sydney Elstran directed the scholarship to a graduate of a Chippewa Falls high school because Bill graduated from Chippewa Falls High School in 1956. He was also a quarterback for his high school football team and, in September 2003, was inducted into the Chippewa Falls High School's Athletic Hall of Fame.

"He was proud to be honored by his high school," said Sydney. "He never forgot the camaraderie of his classmates nor ever regretted the time spent in pursuit of athletic excellence."

In addition to teaching and coaching, Elstran wrote two books: "American Football: How to Play and Watch," and "What Every Parent Should Know About School," a guide to parent advocacy. Elstran believed in hard work and academic achievement, but he also believed life should be enjoyed, said Sydney. She and Bill were married for 36 years and had two children, a son, Clete, and, a daughter, Linden.

"This scholarship fund is a wonderful way to celebrate Bill's belief in living life joyfully and his commitment to education," said Carole Halberg, UW-Eau Claire Foundation president. "It's a lasting legacy of his devotion to teaching, coaching and the positive development of young people."

-30-

KH

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