George and Marcella Field
Affection for UW-River Falls played a large part in George and Marcella Field’s decision to establish an endowment to support the university.
Foremost in that decision, however, was a wish to honor Don and Lenore Field, both of whom attended River Falls Normal School, graduating in 1923. George’s parents were teachers, and his father served as principal of Logan High School in La Crosse from 1928 until 1966. The endowment in their honor will provide scholarships for students committed to teaching.
The Field family has deep ties to UWRF. George grew up in La Crosse but spent many holidays visiting relatives in the River Falls area and liked the town. So, when the offer to serve as president of Wisconsin State University-River Falls came in 1968, he accepted. Two of George and Marcella’s sons graduated from UWRF and a third son and two daughters all took classes here at one time or another. George says, “Marcella quit school when we got married, but she finished her degree [at UW-River Falls], so I actually gave my wife her diploma.”
In addition, George feels that he and Marcella needed to give something back to support the university. “There have been a lot of good people at this institution. Mother and dad thought so, too.” An endowment is their way to honor them and return some support to UWRF.
“The Students’ Chancellor” is still with us, making a difference in our students’ lives.
Before her death in March of 2004 and, in fact, right after coming to UW-River Falls in August of 2000, Chancellor Ann Lydecker and her husband, Bill, decided to provide financial assistance to undergraduate students. They remembered their own struggles and wanted to make it easier for students to get an education. Ann’s father, Lloyd Ruesink, a dairy farmer, and her mother, Alberta, an English teacher, sent all seven of their children to college. Bill’s father, David, didn’t start college until he was 37 years old and the father of three. To honor their sacrifice, the Lydeckers established the Lloyd and Alberta Ruesink Endowed Scholarship for students in English education and agricultural education who demonstrate financial need, and the David and Mildred Lydecker Scholarship for students over the age of 25 with dependents.
After Ann's death, Bill also created the Ann M. Lydecker Memorial Endowed Scholarship for financially strapped women who demonstrate leadership abilities and involvement in campus activities. He also established the Ann Lydecker Lecture Series, centering on the topic of a speech Ann was to have given the day of her death—“Breaking the Glass Ceiling.” The lecture series will fund one or more annual presentations and lectures on leadership issues for women, with a focus on education, government and business. Bill has also planned a future estate gift to honor Ann and support undergraduate research.
To Bill, it is “simply a matter of opportunities to give back.” To students and others who benefit, it is the support they need to be successful.