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UW-Eau Claire Foundation Receives $454,000 Estate Gift

RELEASED: Nov. 18, 2005

Kerlin Seitz
Ethel Seitz
Kerlin Seitz

EAU CLAIRE — A longtime University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire geography faculty member has left $454,000 to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, designating $354,000 to endow a Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship and $100,000 to further endow scholarships for geography students.

The estate gift from Ethel Seitz is the largest single endowment designated specifically for WAES awards in the history of the program at UW-Eau Claire. It also is the largest estate gift to the Foundation from a former UW-Eau Claire faculty member. Seitz, a UW-Eau Claire professor emerita of geography, was a member of the UW-Eau Claire faculty from 1966-81.

The WAES program was established in 1989 by the state Legislature to provide annual $2,250 scholarships to the top graduating students in Wisconsin high schools who enroll at any UW System school, state technical college or participating independent college.

Seitz's gift, recognized as a contribution to the Foundation's ongoing Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign, will help the Foundation take a major step toward achieving one of its campaign goals — fully endowing the WAES program, said Carole Halberg, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

"Mrs. Seitz was devoted to student achievement," said Halberg, who was one of Seitz's students in the late 1960s. "In fact, she was one of the first donors to establish a WAES award with the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. It is fitting that her legacy will help secure the future of the program, which invests in Wisconsin's best and brightest students. I believe Ethel's husband, Dr. Kerlin Seitz, who was equally devoted to student achievement, would have been pleased by this as well."

Kerlin Seitz, who also was a geography professor at UW-Eau Claire from 1966-81, died in 1985. Ethel Seitz died April 1.

The Seitz estate gift also will fully endow the Kerlin and Ethel Seitz Memorial Geography Scholarship at $100,000. The scholarship is awarded to geography majors who have an emphasis in land management, conservation of resources and environmental problems.

"We are honored to receive such a generous gift from Ethel Seitz," said Brady Foust, chair of the geography department. "It is especially meaningful coming from the estate of a fellow professor who recognized the economic pressures placed upon so many students. This scholarship will make it possible for deserving students to achieve academically without economic need interfering in the process. More importantly, fully endowing the award means the Seitzes' legacy will live on in perpetuity."

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KH

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