Giving back to where it started

| Emily Wermund

Dave and Gloria Weiss (’52) are high school sweethearts — together for over 67 years — but their relationship to UW-Eau Claire is equally as impressive. After Gloria graduated summa cum laude from UW-Eau Claire (then Wisconsin State College at Eau Claire) in 1952, the two wed while Dave was finishing school at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Shortly after, the Weisses returned to their hometown of Eau Claire in 1957 when Dave began his dental practice and Gloria opted to help him run his practice instead of a teaching position in the university’s math department.

Although he spend only two years at UW-Eau Claire, Dave maintained a very personal relationship with the university. He recalls watching Blugold football games behind Old Main in the 1930s, and even playing in the 1948 state conference championship. Both Dave and Gloria knew most of the people whose names now grace campus buildings — names like Ade Olson and Bill Zorn — who were quite active at UW-Eau Claire when they were students.

Nearly 70 years later, it was an appeal from the chancellor expressing the merits of the Local Blugold Scholarship, an award exclusively for students in the Chippewa Valley, that prompted Dave and Gloria to channel their fondness of campus into a planned gift. To them, a gift supporting the Local Blugold Scholarship feels like an honor; a privilege to leave an endowment for UW-Eau Claire, especially one with “Blugold” in its title.

The Weisses' gift includes personalized criteria and endows a separate Local Blugold Scholarship fund in both their names. Like most planned gifts, it is tailored to their interests while supporting the values they see in UW-Eau Claire. As Eau Claire natives, they recognize the importance of keeping high-achieving youth local during college and beyond. By working collaboratively to retain talented future leaders, the Weisses' Local Blugold Scholarship fund helps to ensure highly successful students remain in the region.

“After witnessing the efforts of ‘locals’ in Eau Claire’s recent redevelopment, retaining high-achieving students presented a worthy goal,” Dave states. “It’s making an investment in the future of our community.”

There’s something magnetic about Eau Claire that continues to attract people like Dave and Gloria back to the area. On any given autumn Saturday, you may still find Dave attending home football games, his Blugold spirit just as lively as it was in 1948. By supporting efforts like the Local Blugold Scholarship, or making a personalized planned gift of your own, you are shaping the experiences that are instrumental in retaining some of the best and brightest students to the region. After all — and Dave and Gloria would agree — it all comes back to where it started.