$3.2 million gift to “empower women”
Cecelia Chesko Wheeler ’42 gave an estate gift in excess of $3.2 million to the College of Education and Health Sciences, the fourth largest individual gift in Bradley‘s history. President David Broski notes that this gift “provides a means for the University to carry forth its mission and to excel.”
Dr. Joan L. Sattler, dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, recalls Mrs. Wheeler’s wish for her estate gift to “empower women.” A Peoria native, Mrs. Wheeler moved to Seattle, Washington, after graduating from Bradley in the discipline at that time of home economics. She interned in dietetics at the University of Washington, and in 1962, she earned a master of science degree. She served as the director of food service for the Highline Washington School District for 14 years and was a member of the American Dietetics Association. She was also a GRI and CRS licensed real estate agent with the King County Realtors for 40 years.
Dr. Nina Collins, professor and chairperson of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, comments, “Mrs. Wheeler left Bradley with a degree and dreams for her future in 1942. The credentials she earned at Bradley allowed her to complete an internship and become a registered dietitian. She saw the world through lenses partially provided by her Bradley education as she became a highly successful real estate agent and a passionate advocate to empower women and children through her community service.”
The Wheeler gift will have a profound impact on the department in a variety of ways. Dr. Collins, a nationally recognized scholar in the history and philosophy of family and consumer sciences, received the distinction of being named the first endowed C.C. Wheeler Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Within the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, interest from the Wheeler endowment will allow for the creation of a multi-disciplinary center to enhance faculty and student research and service relevant to the field of family and consumer sciences. Faculty and students will have the opportunity to collaborate with other colleges, universities, and institutions as the center’s mission is more fully developed.
The establishment of the Wilson Chesko Hurd Endowed Scholarship will also allow for an increase in scholarships and recruitment opportunities. Incoming freshman Laura McCormack of Libertyville is the first Wilson Chesko Hurd Scholar recipient for undergraduate research for the new academic year.
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