Outlook Magazine - Fall 2020

‘I believe in Stout’ Lawrence and Joanne Styer scholarship fund reflects appreciation for university’s mission


Foundation awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships in 2019, including 32 new scholarships.

W arry and Joanne Hosford Styer met at UW-Stout. After they graduated in 1954 with degrees in vocational education and dietetics, they began their life together in Damascus, Md. Larry taught for Montgomery County Public Schools for 35 years. He helped troubled students find their way and encouraged them to attend college. He sent many of his students to UW-Stout. Joanne, a nationally recognized dietician, was the director of food service at Montgomery County Public Schools. She received the UW-Stout Distinguished Alumni award in 1989 for her innovation, leadership and volunteer efforts. The Styers were married for 58 years when Larry passed away in December 2013. In honor of her husband and their Industry support in Winona, Minn., heard from faculty at UW-Stout that scholarships would help attract more plastics engineering students, he and others went to work. Maki is a member of the program advisory board, which includes many employer representatives. They advise the university about the latest skills and knowledge students need to work in the industry. As a result of the faculty recommendation, members of the board and others stepped up to create scholarships. In fall 2019, eight first-year students received awards. This fall, the number has grown to 11 scholarships, 10 of them for $1,500 apiece and one for $500. hen Steve Maki, vice president of technology at RTP Company

love for UW-Stout, Joanne is establishing the Lawrence and Joanne Styer Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will support engineering technology and dietetics majors. Joanne thinks alumni have a responsibility to help their communities and support students. As she invests in the future of the university, she wants to inspire others to give. “I believe in Stout. It is constantly abreast of new and relevant programs to meet students’ needs and keep in step with industry progress. I like that students can see they’ll have a successful career before graduation,” she said. An endowed scholarship is established with an initial gift of $30,000 or more to the Stout University Foundation. The “We wanted ways to attract incoming freshmen and let them see what plastics engineering has to offer and all the tremendous job opportunities and placement opportunities available,” Maki said. The industry will benefit in the long run. “There is a high demand for plastics engineers, particularly in the Midwest where there is a lot of injection molding,” Maki said. The plastics engineering program has a 100% employment rate for graduates and a $64,000 average starting salary. “Our program is well-recognized by the plastics field,” said Wei Zheng, program director and associate professor. Sixty students were enrolled in the spring

Larry and Joanne Styer

Scholarships established by employers for first-year plastics engineering students

semester, and 18 first-year students started last fall, the latter number higher than in recent years and a sign that the scholarships are having an impact.

Plastics engineering class


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