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UW-Eau Claire Alumnus Establishes Scholarship for Psychology Majors

RELEASED: June 12, 2006

Bill and Laural Combs
Bill and Laural Combs

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumnus and his wife have established a scholarship for students majoring in psychology.

William and Laural Combs of Lino Lakes, Minn., created the William and Laural Combs Psychology Scholarship with the UW-Eau Claire Foundation to be awarded annually to an outstanding junior or senior psychology major with financial need and a strong academic record.

Bill Combs graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1983. In 1996, he took over the business his father founded, Combs and Associates Inc., a manufacturers' representative for architectural doors, frames, hardware and Division 10, located in Golden Valley, Minn. Laural Combs is an account executive for Origins, a division of Estee' Lauder Companies. They have two children, Gunnar, age 9, and Logan, age 4.

Bill Combs says some of the happiest years of his life were spent at UW-Eau Claire. He started supporting the Foundation just five years after he graduated, gradually increasing the amount.

"I wanted to give something back to a school I so much enjoyed and to a department that was so supportive," Combs said. "Dr. Larry Morse was a professor who really helped shape my behavior to become successful in both work and family life."

The first recipient of the $500 Combs Scholarship is Lindsay Matteson, a senior psychology major from Sheboygan. She has taken courses in personality, individual differences and behavioral genetics, and evolutionary psychology and is headed for an advanced degree in the area of behavioral genetics.

She is actively involved in research with April Bleske-Recheck, assistant professor of psychology. Their projects involve deception and sexual attraction between opposite-sex friends and familial similarity in adult romantic attachment styles.

Bleske-Recheck describes Matteson as "a perfect recipient for the scholarship."

Psychology department chair Morse says the Combs scholarship provides his department with an opportunity to recognize excellence in student accomplishments as well as provide assistance to students with financial need. "We are grateful to Bill and Laural for this important contribution to our program and students," Morse said.

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

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JW/JB

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