Giving Back: Passion for music, education, drives business scholarship

Higher education has always been important to Jim Prast.

As the first generation in his family to go to college, Prast is a firm believer in making help available to students who need financial assistance.

It’s with this mindset that Prast and his wife, Kelli, started a new scholarship for University of Wisconsin-Green Bay business students to follow their dreams of higher education.

The Jim and Kelli Prast Scholarship is awarded to full-time undergrads from Northeastern Wisconsin who demonstrate financial need. The recipient must be pursuing a degree in Business Administration. The twist is that students must also be active in the field of music, whether it be for academic credit or as a hobby.

“I was involved in music all throughout my life,” Prast said. “I think it is healthy for students to have an interest in the arts.”

A proud graduate of St. Norbert College, Prast is at the same time an advocate for public higher education. That led to his involvement with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Founders Association, which he has served as president and board member.

“I believe in access to higher education for all, and I see that in UW-Green Bay’s mission,” he said.

Without financial assistance during his college years, Prast said his graduation with a degree in Business Administration would never have happened. He always knew he’d make it to college, however.

“It was never a question of if I was going to college, but where,” he said. “My great aunt always would say that no one can take your education away from you.”

His hard work throughout college paid off, and he is the General Manager of Gustman Pontiac GMC in Green Bay. Because of the financial assistance he received as a college student, Prast sought to help current and future students at UW-Green Bay.

Prast has been involved with the Founders Association since the 1990s. Created in 1973, the organization is made up of 2,000 community members, alumni, faculty and staff who advocate for the academic mission of UW-Green Bay and contribute monetary donations.

— Story by student Rachel Rivard, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication Office, UW-Green Bay