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New scholarship established to honor retiring colleague

Paula Stuettgen
Paula Stuettgen

RELEASED: Jan. 4, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — A new scholarship has been established through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation to honor a retiring academic staff member. Paula Stuettgen, senior coordinator for assessment and special projects, will end 30 years of service as a staff member and student adviser in February. Friends and colleagues wanted to honor Stuettgen's service by establishing a scholarship that will recognize young women exemplifying the qualities they appreciate about Stuettgen, including hard work, enthusiasm, dedication and service.

"Paula's decades of contributions to this campus will go on long after her retirement," said Jacqueline Bonneville, assistant dean of students. "She is a true advocate for students and keeps them at the center of all she does."

Bonneville, together with Jodi Thesing-Ritter, associate dean of students; Lisa Schuetz, student services program manager; Nicole Wohlrab, senior residence hall director; and Melinda Hebert, assistant director of business and retail services; requested and funded the award — the KanDu Club Scholarship — which will be given annually to a female student with a strong commitment to leadership and service.

The "KanDu Club" was conceived when a group of women at UW-Eau Claire, collaborating on programming for students, were referred to by a student as "the women who can do anything" and the title became used informally.

"When we were working to plan an event the title kind of stuck and we started meeting regularly to provide professional and personal support for one another," said Thesing-Ritter, who noted that it was Stuettgen who came up with the "KanDu" word play.

Thesing-Ritter said she appreciated Paula's support and mentoring when she was a young professional at UW-Eau Claire.

"I have followed in her footsteps and have tried to reach out to new staff members to offer support to them as they begin their careers at UW-Eau Claire," Thesing-Ritter said. "The scholarship is a way for us to honor the work and support that Paula has provided for so many years. We intend to award it annually to a female student who makes significant contributions to the university."

Stuettgen received her bachelor of arts degree from UW-Eau Claire in 1976 and has spent the bulk of her career working at UW-Eau Claire. Her primary focus has been on student development and programs that serve UW-Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley. She has advised several national honor societies and served as primary adviser to the University Activities Commission of the Student Senate and several of its programming committees, including those relating to The Cabin, Special Events, Higherground and campus festivals. In her role overseeing the Student Organizations Complex, Stuettgen has been integral to the coordination of the Blugold Organizations Bash, Student Leadership Awards, Community Action and Lifelong Learning, summer session programs, the Campus Community Connection and the on-campus farmer's market.

Stuettgen has been responsible for instituting many programs that continue today. One of her most notable achievements was her effort, along with Dr. Roma Hoff, professor emerita of foreign languages, to establish Honors Week on campus, which culminates in the annual Honors Banquet. She and Hoff felt it was critical to recognize the academic achievements of students at UW-Eau Claire. The Honors Banquet draws hundreds of faculty, students and their families to a dinner and program each April.

As part of a multi-department collaboration that includes the colleagues who established this fund in her name, Stuettgen has contributed to events including Parents Weekend, Phase II Orientation, National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week and The Bridge. She is the current president of the UW-Eau Claire chapter of Women in Higher Education and has been recognized outside the university for her significant contributions to the Eau Claire County Humane Association and Bolton Refuge House, the first shelter for victims of domestic abuse established in Wisconsin.

Contributions from the public for the KanDu Club Scholarship are welcome and should be directed to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

-30-

RD/DW

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