Giving back: Former staff member left gift for future

Irene ShewalterThe late Irene Shewalter was known for her professionalism, generosity and, above all, dedication to UW-Green Bay and its students. Today, a $25,000 bequest from her estate will carry that dedication forward with establishment of the Irene Shewalter Scholarship in Theatre at UW-Green Bay.

“Outside of the wives of the chancellors, Irene was the first lady of UW-Green Bay,” said William Laatsch, interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UW-Green Bay.

Shewalter, who passed away on Feb. 8, 2008 at the age of 90, was a longtime University of Wisconsin employee. She first joined the staff of the Green Bay two-year center, known affectionately as Cardboard Tech, in 1953. At the time, the Green Bay center was part of the UW-Extension program. She held various secretarial and administrative assistant positions during those years as the campus transitioned to a full four-year university. With the opening of UW-Green Bay on the Shorewood site in 1969, she served as a classified staff member in the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty.

“Irene knew virtually everyone on the campus and everyone knew her,” said Laatsch, a founding faculty member. “She worked with accuracy, expediency and grace.”

After her retirement in 1978, Shewalter continued to spend time at UW-Green Bay, returning for special events, fine arts programs and serving as a Weidner Center volunteer during the 1990s. Shewalter also volunteered with the Skylight Players, a group of senior actors.

“For Irene, working at UW-Green Bay was more than a job — it was a lifestyle and one that continued even after she retired from the University,” Laatsch said.

The Irene Shewalter Scholarship in Theatre will be awarded for the first time in the 2009/2010 academic year.

— Reported by editorial intern Sarah Duchow, senior, Communication major, Oconomowoc