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Illinois Parks & Recreation
November / December 1995 Volume 26, Number 6

Administration Focus
Administration Focus
Joanne B. Wagner
College Scholarship Program
Elmhurst's Hometown Scholurship Offers Financial Opportunity for College Students

by Nancy Wasielewski

Young people growing up in Elmhurst, Illinois, have many opportunities to make recreation and leisure an important part of their lives through the Elmhurst Park District's wide range of recreation programs and first-class parks and facilities.

And if any of those young people want to take their interest in parks and recreation a step further, the district offers the Joanne B. Wagner Scholarship Program, which provides an annual financial award for hometown college students pursuing a career in parks, recreation and conservation.

As a member of the Elmhurst Park District board of commissioners from 1960 until her death in 1989, Joanne Butterfield Wagner was noted for her community service and leadership in Elmhurst. The scholarship in her name honors her work as Elmhurst's longest serving park board member and board president for six terms. Joanne Wagner dedicated twenty-nine years of her life to help develop the parks, provide recreational opportunities for Elmhurst residents and serve the leisure interests of the community. The Elmhurst Park District also named its community center "The Wagner Community Center" in her honor.

According to Carole Williams, Wagner's daughter, the idea for the scholarship was generated by the out- pouring of community support and financial donations received by the park district to be used for a memorial to the popular park board member following her death.

Looking back to that time, Carole Williams commented that the park district brought together a committee including herself, community members, board members and staff to determine how to use the money. "We thought of many uses for the money such as an art sculpture, formal garden or tree plantings," she said, "But we decided that with such a substantial amount of the money, we could start an annual college scholarship fund to provide some financial assistance for students interested in the field of parks, recreation and conservation. We saw the scholarship fund to provide some financial assistance for students interested in the field of parks, recreation and conservation. We saw the scholarship as a living memorial in my mother's name that could influence new generations of park users and encourage careers in the field she loved and worked so hard to promote."

The park district created the Wagner Memorial Committee to oversee and make recommendations to the Elmhurst Park District board regarding the disbursements of funds. The decision was made to leave the Memorial Fund's principle invested and use the interest generated for the scholarship. Additional money was raised for the Memorial Fund through fundraising dinners and sale of specially designed notecards featuring a drawing of the park district's conservatory. The first Wagner Scholarship for $300 was awarded in 1990. From 1991 to the present, the scholarship amount has been $500.

Scholarship applicants are asked to fill out a four- page application stating their academic background and achievements, career goals, and work and volunteer experience in the field. Applicants must also be:
- residents of the Elmhurst Park District;
-full-time students (or can demonstrate intent and promise of obtaining a degree) in parks, recreation or conservation; and
- entering their second year of an associate of arts degree program or the junior year or higher of a bachelor's, master's or doctorate program.

Illinois Parks & Recreation November/December 1995 33

The annual scholarship is publicized through press releases, the seasonal park district program brochures, flyers, bulletin board notices, letters to state and regional colleges with parks, recreation and conservation department, and in orientation programs for the summer seasonal staff.

The scholarship check is presented in April of each year. The scholarship application deadline is October 31 of the previous year. Following the application deadline each year, the Wagner Scholarship committee meets to review the application and select the recipient.

The six Wagner Scholarship winners to date have been energetic young people with creative ideas and strong skills who have demonstrated their leadership through their summer employment at the park district and through local and college-related volunteer experiences in parks and recreation. Most have gone on to pursue parks and recreational careers.

"One of the things my mother was always so proud about was the Elmhurst Park District's staff. She felt the board went to great efforts to find the best qualified people to work for the park district," commented Williams. "I think she would also be proud to know this scholarship is helping to educate and develop the skills of her hometown's young people so that they can be the best qualified leaders for park districts in the future."

Nancy Wasielewski works part-time for the Elmhurst Park District as public information coordinator. She has a Journalism degree from the University of Illinois and has been with the Elmhurst Park District for twelve years.

Where are They Now?
Where are They Now?Where are They Now? Where are They Now? Where are They Now? Where are They Now?

Sue Gager graduated with a bachelor's degree in Leisure Studies from the University of Illinois in 1991.
Current Job: Membership coordinator for the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) in Winfield, Illinois. Job responsibilities include: "keeper" of the IPRA membership database and registration for all workshops, seminars, special events, ticket programs and Job Opportunities Bulletin subscriptions; coordinates the record keeping of all certified professionals; develops ticket, sport and cultural ticket programs, and coordinates IPRA special events.

Mary Ann Sullivan graduated with a bachelor's degree in Recreation from Southern Illinois University in 1991.
Current Job: Outdoor adventure and recreation instructor for the College of Du Page in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Recently returned to the United States following a seven-month assignment at McMurdo Station in Antarctica as the recreation specialist for the 250 scientists and professionals working on the icy continent. As a civilian contractor to the U.S. Navy's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department, Mary Ann said she was the first person with a recreation degree to run the department and is responsible for planning outings, sporting events and parties as well as managing the recreation facilities including a gym, weight room, rock climbing wall, bowling alley, ceramics lab, library and ski rental service. Prior to this special experience, Mary Ann worked at the College of Du Page as the outdoor adventure and wilderness instructor taking groups rock climbing and back packing to the Boundary Waters, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

34 Illinois Parks & Recreation November/December 1995

Amy Wachholz graduated with a bachelor's degree in Recreation Administration from Eastern Illinois University in 1993.

Current Job: Safety coordinator for the Wheeling Park District and the Winnetka Park District responsible for in-service training for new employees, loss control, and coordination with the Park District Risk Management Assn. (PDRMA). She was formerly the safety coordinator for the Wood Dale Park District.

Nancy Graham graduated with a bachelor's degree in Recreation and Parks Administration from Illinois State University in 1994. Current Job: Working in the insurance industry.
John Barrett is a senior majoring in Recreation Administration at Eastern Illinois University.
Current Job: Works for the Elmhurst Park District Parks Department during the summer and during school holiday breaks.
Barbara Knoeppel graduated with a bachelor's degree in Human Services and Recreation from the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh in 1995.
Current Job: Assistant manager of The Abbey Leisure Center for the Elmhurst Park District coordinating senior programs, special events and trips.

Illinois Parks & Recreation November/December 1995 35

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