The Dahlins: Philanthropists, paper company owners, good neighbors

Bernie Dahlin jokes that he wasn’t an overly serious student in his own youth. That’s why the UW-Green Bay scholarship fund he created with his wife, Alyce, isn’t intended for those with perfect 4.0s in high school.

Beginning this year, a pair of $2,000 Dahlin Family Scholarships will be awarded to new or continuing UW-Green Bay students who demonstrate financial need and have grade point averages between 2.5 and 3.49.

Dahlin says the real reason for criteria shading toward those who draw the occasional B or C is the recognition that many student scholarships already favor the straight-A crowd.

“There are a lot of very talented young people with drive and ambition who don’t meet those qualifications right out of high school,” he says. “Maybe they are working an extra job or have other issues that made high school a little more difficult. By the time they’re in college, though, they might be in a position to learn and develop and be very successful. They can be some of our best students, and employees.”

As owner and chief executive officer of Nichols Paper Products, Dahlin turned a small company about 30 miles west of Green Bay into a global player in the highly competitive paper-converting industry. He respects the value of education and the advantage it brings to the local economy.

Dahlin says he is particularly supportive of a new UW System proposal that would bring an engineering technology degree program to the Green Bay campus.

The Dahlins are perennial contributors to academic excellence through the UW-Green Bay Founders Association. They have supported the Phuture Phoenix program, which encourages at-risk children to graduate from high school and attend college. They contributed to the Kress Events Center campaign, and are longtime backers of UW-Green Bay Phoenix Athletics and scholarships for student-athletes, as well as the Weidner Center. The couple received UW-Green Bay’s highest community honor, the Chancellor’s Award, in 2007.