Great People Scholarship Helps Students Reach Dreams

Bascom Hall

Rick Issod was whip smart, a natural leader and Eagle Scout. The 1972 graduate of Wausau East High School was accepted into the five elite colleges to which he applied.

He had aspirations toward a career in social work. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison from summer 1972 until May 1973, and in the fall of 1973, he entered UW-Marathon County, where he pursued his keen interests in philosophy, sociology, psychology and languages.

Rick Issod died during his sophomore year of college and was never able to achieve his dreams. But his parents – Betty (’47 BS L&S) and Leonard Issod –are helping other UW-Madison students reach their goals through the Richard Scott Issod Great People Scholarship.

Although Rick never graduated from UW-Madison, his mother did. “Being a Wisconsin graduate, I was very interested in setting up a scholarship at UW-Madison,” Betty Issod said. “The incentive of the matching funds was very desirable for us, because it allowed us to do a scholarship at Wisconsin and at UW-Marathon County in Wausau.”

Since its inception in 2008, the Great People Scholarship Campaign has generated more than $25 million, counting UW Foundation matches, for student support. Great People Scholarships are part of aid packages put together by the Office of Student Financial Aid that often include student and family contributions, loans and work-study employment.

In the 2010-11 academic year, Sang Thao received the Richard Scott Issod Great People Scholarship, one of 69 campus-wide Great People Scholarships awarded. Schools and colleges also made Great People awards. The number of campus-wide Great People Scholarships awarded in 2011-12 has grown to more than 500.

“It’s very exciting,” said Susan Fischer, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid. “The Great People Scholarship Campaign is helping to make access to this wonderful university a reality for increasing numbers of students who might not otherwise be able to attend. The growth in this program is a real tribute to the donors whose gifts will provide nothing short of a transformative experience to the recipients.”

Betty Issod, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa, was a Knapp Scholar the first year the award was established. She said she and Leonard are happy their Great People Scholarship will help talented students with need and that it will bear Richard’s name.

“Every class reunion since his death was dedicated to him,” she said. “He was very much admired by all his friends.”