On April 15, the WAICU Board of Directors (the presidents of the member colleges and universities) gathered at the Medical College of Wisconsin to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Rath Distinguished Scholars program-WAICU’s largest scholarship endowment.
The Rath Distinguished Scholars program annually provides two scholarships to students at each WAICU member. These are merit (academic achievement and leadership) scholarships in keeping with the late Duane Rath’s commitment to excellence in all things. Three recent recipients described the impact of this scholarship on their academic and career success: Matthew Ferlindes (Carroll University), Kristen Fox (Medical College of Wisconsin), and Elizabeth Rath (no relation, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design).
Those joining in the celebration were struck by the accomplishments of the scholarship recipients: one holding three jobs, another admitted to a prestigious graduate program, and still another awarded national academic honors.
WAICU president Dr. Rolf Wegenke said, “we celebrate Duane Rath’s legacy for a reason; to educate and inspire others to follow his lead. Duane Rath’s (1941-1994) tragic death at the age of 53 left us a legacy: Mr. Rath gave millions for AIDS and Alzheimer’s research, but his philanthropy, carried on by the foundation which bears his name, is best known for its support of educational opportunity-a perfect fit with WAICU’s mission: working together for educational opportunity. Even before the creation of the scholarship that bears his name, his company in Janesville was one of the first in the United States to fund scholarships for the children of all full time employees. Now it is up to us to follow his example and to invest in students and in the future.”