Professor's Endowment Benefits Geography Students

When Mary Jo Read, a geography professor, died in 1998, she made UWM geography students beneficiaries of her estate through an endowment fund that generates more than $50,000 per year. "The fund will help the Geography Department attract some of the best students in the country," says Read's longtime friend and colleague Donn Haglund, professor emeritus of geography. Read, a dedicated professor, accomplished photographer, popular speaker, and worldwide traveler, taught at UWM's Department of Geography from 1940 (when it was the Milwaukee State Teachers College) until 1965 and was its chairwoman from 1958 to 1963. She then taught at Eastern Illinois University and returned to Milwaukee upon her retirement.

The Mary Jo Read Geography Fund, with estimated assets of more than $1 million, will benefit the department by providing scholarships, fellowships, and merit awards to students who demonstrate academic excellence in the field.

Specifically, the fund earmarks the following:

  • Fellowships for geography graduate students, typically to provide additional financial support to those also holding teaching, project, or research assistantships. Both new and continuing students are eligible for these fellowships each year, with awards based on each student's academic record and competitive standing. A fellowship can be granted to an individual for a total of four years. New student awards are $5,000, and continuing student awards are $2,500. All department graduate students are automatically considered for these awards each year, however those not interested in graduate assistantships may wish to fill out an application form (Word, pdf).
  • $2,500 merit awards targeted for juniors and seniors majoring in Geography. Must be an enrolled student at time of award distribution to be eligible. An award can be granted to an individual for a total of two years. 2014-2015 Undergraduate Scholarship Information (pdf)
  • up to $1,000 travel grants for graduate and undergraduate students. These scholarships are to fund capstone travel, research, and professional development experiences. Use the procedures outlined on the 2014-2015 Travel Award page.