Wildwood Trust Scholarship

Scholarships Given

  • Typically 4 Undergraduate Scholars per year
  • Periodically 4 Graduate Travel Grants per year

The Wildwood Trust was established to support undergraduate scholarships for students in the Fisheries and Wildlife major. The scholarships are given to one member of each of the four undergraduate classes, and, with good grades, can be retained for four years.

The Trust also supports travel expenses (up to $500) for SNR graduate students to present their research at professional meetings. Graduate students advised by SNR's Applied Ecology faculty are eligible. Graduate students may receive one travel award during their graduate program.

Wildwood Trust Scholarship story multi-faceted tale of a desire to give

"Pay it forward" also message heeded by benefactor

On the surface, the story of the Wildwood Trust Scholarship is a tale of the good intentions of a one-time traveling salesman heeding the advice of a legendary football coach.

But digging a little deeper, according to Donald Althoff, research assistant professor in biology at Kansas State University and benefactor of this School of Natural Resources' (SNR) scholarship, it really reflects his desire to give back to a program and group of people who made a lasting, positive impact on his life. Althoff reflected on his time at UNL as a wildlife major at the first SNR alumni reunion, expected to be an annual event.

The story begins before Althoff landed a fulltime position in his academic field and instead worked as a traveling salesman for a printing company. Althoff said his sales trips frequently brought him back to Lincoln and the University of Nebraska, where he had earned his master's degree.

Each time he was in the area, Althoff said he made a point of stopping by the former UNL Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife – now part of the SNR – to check up on the professors and former graduate students that had supported him.

"I just wanted to see how things were going," he said.

During one of these visits, Althoff said he spent a considerable amount of time talking with Howard Wiegers, the founding father of the fisheries and wildlife program and one of his favorite professors.

Althoff voiced his concern to Wiegers that he was not doing his part to promote wildlife conservation, particularly because by that point he had earned a doctorate in wildlife ecology from Pennsylvania State University he was not using directly.

"(Wiegers) was quick to say that I might really be able to do more for wildlife conservation on the 'outside' than if I were on the 'inside'."

If he had to be a voice for change, Wiegers said he might do it better in his role at that time than if he were with a college or governmental organization, Althoff noted.

In addition to this advice, Althoff said, the return visits gave him a sharper sense of appreciation for former professors like Wiegers, Ron Case and Phil Gipson, as well as grad students Steve Kilpatrick and Jim Bruner.

"Just stopping by and saying 'hey' hardly seemed like much payback for all that I received from the program and these folks,"he said.

But Althoff said he was still unsure about what he should do. However, soon thereafter, a speech by legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes unexpectedly delivered a dose of insight and inspiration.

An Ohio State alumnus as an undergraduate, Althoff received the university's alumni newsletter. An issue of that publication reprinted a speech by Hayes, and one line seized his attention:

"You can never pay people back for the good they have done in your life . . . so you must pay forward."

To "pay" this good forward, Althoff said he decided to launch the Wildwood Trust Scholarship with personal contributions and a donation from his company.

The idea seemed perfectly tailored to Althoff's situation. Being out of the wildlife field had cultivated a sincere need to contribute and also had permitted him to earn substantially more money, he said.

"I figured, if we could get it started, that someday it would be worth something and could have some positive impact," he said.

That "someday" has arrived with the help of many other donors who have contributed and helped build this endowment fund. According to the University Foundation, the Wildwood Trust Scholarship gives out four $1,000 scholarships each academic year to undergraduate students selected by faculty, one each to a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior in the fisheries and wildlife program, and also provides travel scholarships to graduate students so they can present their research at science meetings. And thanks to Don Althoff and his former employer, it should do so for some time to come.

Don Althoff wins Excellence in Scholarship Award from University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College in 2013.

Graduate Student Travel Funds Application Process

Please send David Wedin a cover letter requesting the funding, a copy of your presentation/poster title and abstract (please indicate if it is accepted), and a very brief budget showing total costs and what is covered by Wildwood.

Opportunities for Giving

Information about giving to this and other funds can be found at the NU Foundation web site.

Award Winners

Undergraduate ScholarsGraduate Travel Grants
2019 - 2020
Amelia Baker
Zoe Buffinton
Chase Giese
Kaianna Hraban
2018 - 2019
Amelia Baker
Zoe Buffinton
Chase Giese
Addison Krebs
2017 - 2018
Amelia Baker
Chase Giese
Addison Krebs
Lauren Uhlig
2016 - 2017
Amelia Baker
Addison Krebs
Paige Krupa
Lauren Uhlig
2015 - 2016
Addison Krebs
Paige Krupa
Carlye Kush
Alexis Linder
Rebecca Bevins
Amanda Hefner
Maggi Sliwinski
Michael Whitby
2014 - 2015
Paige Krupa
Carlye Kush
Alexis Linder
Cody McGregor
Victoria Simonsen
Jack Arterburn
Katja Koehler-Cole
Katilyn Price
2013 - 2014
Ian Hoppe
Paige Krupa
Alexis Linder
Cody McGregor
Monica White
Meg Trowbridge-Andrews
2012 - 2013
Courtney Anthony
Gary Grindvalds
Ian Hoppe
Dylan Hubl
Cody McGregor
2011 - 2012
Courtney Anthony
Ian Hoppe
Dylan Hubl
Monica Keep
Cody McGregor
2010 - 2011
Courtney Anthony
Suzanne Dawson
Amber Fandrich
Ian Hoppe
Dylan Hubl
Monica Keep
2009 - 2010
Maxwell Andersen
Courtney Anthony
Suzanne Dawson
Amber Fandrich
Ian Hoppe
Ethan Jensen
Scott Groepper
Kristine Nemec
John Quinn
2008 - 2009
Lars Anderson
Suzanne Dawson
Amber Fandrich
Andrew Furman
Ethan Jensen
John Quinn
John Sanley
Jeanina Simon
Anthony Barada
Karen Leavelle
Ty Matthews
Ben Neely
2007 - 2008
Suzanne Dawson
Amber Fandrich
Andrew Furman
Ethan Jensen
Rebecca Sikes
Jason Thiele
Phil Dobesh
Matt Giovanni
Jennifer Hogue
2006 - 2007
Casey Cain
Andrew Furman
Ethan Jensen
Rebecca Sikes
Jason Thiele
Charles Frost
Andrea Hanson
2005 - 2006
Casey Cain
Kent Fricke
Andrew Furman
Naoko Kobayashi
Jason Thiele
January Jones
2004 - 2005
Casey Cain
Kent Fricke
Naoko Kobayashi
Jason Thiele
2003 - 2004
Casey Cain
Kent Fricke
Matthew Rolling
Eton Stebbins
Silka Finkbeiner
Stacey Kopf
2002 - 2003
Kent Fricke
Matthew Rolling
Eton Stebbins
Brenda Woodward