Daphne Newman Stassin has felt at home on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison since she was a child. Her mother was a high school teacher who often took summer courses at the University, living in a residence hall with her only child in tow. Stassin’s father emigrated from Greece and had no opportunity for higher education, but he read voraciously. The household advocated the philosophy of educational reformer John Dewey, who believed access to education was central to democracy. Through her planned gifts, Stassin’s generosity will cover her beloved campus and impact future teachers, farmers and diplomats.
After Stassin finished her bachelor’s degree in history at UW-Madison in 1959, she traveled, studied and lived in New York, Massachusetts, overseas in London and Paris, Georgia, South Carolina and Illinois, before returning to Wisconsin. She earned a Master of Education in counseling from the University of Georgia and a PhD from New York University in history. As she taught history and worked in educational counseling settings, she always was looking for ways to create paths for students who did not have the same access to the education she’d enjoyed. Her professional positions include assistant dean of students at a historically black college/university under federal desegregation orders, and director of research and development at the tribal college of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa in northern Wisconsin. Stassin’s experience, skill and cultural sensitivity made her a sought-after educational consultant throughout her career.
“I received scholarships and grants with names attached, and it means more because you know something about the individual who is making it possible for you to attain your educational goals.”
Now making estate plans, Stassin continues to create access to education by establishing four unique scholarships for disadvantaged students. In memory of her grandmother Bessie Morton Newman, who kept the family farm afloat during the Depression and encouraged her daughter and granddaughter to pursue higher education, Stassin has created a scholarship in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of Dairy Science. In the names of her late parents, Stassin has established the George Nicholas Stassin Study Abroad Scholarship for a graduate student in the Division of International Studies and the Florence Newman Stassin (’29 BA L&S History, ’38 MA EDU) Scholarship in the School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The bequest also creates the Daphne Newman Stassin Fellowship in European Diplomatic History Fund for a graduate student in the College of Letters & Science Department of History.