By Trent Tetzlaff
Not many people can say they were able to spend nearly 50 years of their life working for one institution doing what they love everyday.
However, Dr. Sally Webb, professor emerita and former development officer at UW-Eau Claire was able to do just that.
Webb came to Eau Claire in 1965 to teach public speaking in what was then the speech department with just one year of teaching experience under her belt. Despite her youth, Webb learned on the fly and continued to teach public speaking until 1983 when she took time off to earn her doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin in Organizational Communication she said.
Webb taught Organizational Communication at the University once she returned from Texas, and also took a few years later in her career to teach in Harlaxton, England and Dalkeith, Scotland. Webb said she also played a role in recruiting students to study abroad trips like the Dalkeith trip and the South Africa study abroad trip.
During her time with the University, Webb founded multiple scholarships. Four in the CJ Department and one outside of the department beginning in 1992.
These departmental scholarships include, an international student tuition scholarship, an organizational communication tuition scholarship, a study abroad scholarship for organizational communication students and a diversity tuition scholarship.
Webb said what made her originally want to become a scholarship donor was her love for the University and more specifically the CJ Department as a whole.
“I would say most donors including myself give because they have good feelings about the university or institution they are giving too,” she said. “I had a very good experience teaching here and have become very fond of students and faculty here over the years, so I wanted to give back.”
Webb said one thing that stands out about the scholarship program with the CJ department over others at the university is the wide range of scholarships offered and that the department works to encourage all students to apply and push to get scholarship winners to interact with donors.
Along with this Webb said, CJ Academic Department Associate Judy Gatlin, has been a very important piece in making the CJ scholarship program run so smoothly over the years.
Most important to Webb though she said, are the thank you letters and emails that she receives from students in the department which only make donating much more rewarding to her.
“There is a great joy in hearing from alumni,” Webb said. “Every once and awhile I will get a note or an email saying “you probably don’t remember me” but then they go on to thank me for what a scholarship did for them, or even for just a memory from class.”
Since Webb’s multiple scholarships were created years ago, many students have received these awards to help pay tuition and fees whether it may be abroad or at the University.
Erin Brault, a junior double major in organizational communication and Spanish received the Sally A. Webb Study Abroad Tuition Scholarship for Organizational Communication this past fall and said she used the scholarship money to help her to travel abroad to Valladolid, Spain this spring.
Brault said the scholarship not only has allowed her to travel, but it also has helped her grow as a student.
“I’m very grateful for the scholarship, especially because studying abroad has already become a major highlight of my college career,” she said. “Furthermore, it’s impacted my ability to grow as both a student and individual.”
Brault also said the study abroad experience made possible by the scholarship has allowed her to fully combine and use both of her majors effectively.
“Everyday is a new experience, and it’s proved helpful in terms of learning how to communicate and interact effectively with a variety of people in a wide range of settings,” she said. “Something that goes hand-in-hand with both my Spanish and Organizational Communication majors.”
Although Webb isn’t lecturing within the confines of Hibbard Hall anymore or working with students one on one to improve their communication skills, she continues to be one of the biggest donors to the scholarship program in the CJ Department year after year.
And for students like Brault scholarships are among the most important things that a student can receive while in school.
“Scholarships are important because many college students see a dollar sign in front of everything, which is understandable with the increasing amount of debt we are incurring,” she said. “However, experiences like these do not come around for the rest of your life.”
Do you have questions regarding scholarships? Did a CJ scholarship have a significant impact on your experience at UW-Eau Claire? Leave a comment below!