Paying it forward: Scholarship recipients learn lesson in charity

Scholarship recipients and their families, along with donors and University personnel — more than 300 in all — packed the Weidner Center stage for a special reception Friday, September 30. It was the 14th year for the reception, a conduit for the donors to get to know the recipients on a more personal level, and for the students to be able to put faces to names and express their gratitude for their scholarships.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden and Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement Bev Carmichael reminded the recipients to “pay it forward” when they get the chance. Each thanked the donors for their investment in the University and its students. Carmichael reminded the guests just what a community means to a University.

“This University exists because this community wanted it here, and worked hard to have it located here,” she said. “This University grew rapidly because this community wanted it to grow,” she said, citing examples like the Weidner Center, the Kress Center and student housing. “And the University has been able to build its academic reputation and our growing list of student scholarship funds, because this community wanted those things to happen.”

Marcia Mueller, speaking for donors, and on behalf of her brother, the late Craig Mueller, an alumnus who gifted $1 million to his alma mater for scholarships and other special projects, said the annual reception and opportunity to meet the Mueller Scholarship recipients is one of the highlights of her year.

“Craig, who was here from the very first years, and even helped move furniture from the previous site known as ‘Cardboard Tech’ always said how important UWGB was to him, how helpful the faculty were (even providing a loan when he couldn’t cover tuition) and how important education is. He believed you had to work hard and play hard and he knew with rising tuition and the cost of living higher than ever, that students need help. He believed in investing for the future.”

“…A friend told me, ‘Craig left a legacy for the students, but let you participate in the joy of their futures.’”

Student Michael Fowler spoke on behalf of the recipients.

“To all the donors here today, thank you. Asking nothing in return, you have decided to invest in a complete stranger’s education, and without you, this event would not be possible. Your selfless actions are truly an inspiration, and the impact of those actions on the lives of students you have touched will echo indefinitely. As a recipient of the Craig Mueller Scholarship in Arts and Visual Design, I know they will for me.”

Fowler, who is one of many recipients of Mueller endowed scholarships, said he spent the past week reading up on Mueller, who wanted to leave a legacy at his alma mater.

“The stories I have heard from faculty and read in the archives have inspired me deeply,” said Fowler. “In one of those stories Mr. Mueller said that he would like the beneficiaries of his endowment to be allowed the opportunity to find themselves here, as he had. ‘I want them to not be afraid to take chances.’”

Fowler, who had a degree in journalism but returned to school to follow his passion as a music educator said the scholarship enabled him to “take such a chance.”

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Photos by Eric Miller, Marketing and University Communication

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