Ryan Poehling’s caring and giving carries on despite cancer cutting the 1995 geography graduate’s inspiring life short.
Each year since 2001, a UWL junior or senior geography major has received a $2,000 scholarship — The Ryan M. Poehling Memorial Scholarship.
His father, Hank Poehling, established the endowed award to carry on Ryan’s philosophy of giving.
“‘Me’ and ‘I’ were not part of his vocabulary,” explains Hank. “That is the basis for why we set up a scholarship — to continue his philosophy of helping other people.”
Ryan died Dec. 17, 2000, at the age of 27 from a rare form of cancer — just weeks before completing a doctoral degree in economic geography.
Hank says Ryan was atypical even at the age of 7. When his parents asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he encouraged them to skip him and buy his brothers nicer presents.
Ryan’s caring and giving nature continues through the scholarship. “I know Ryan would be thrilled with what he is still accomplishing in death,” says Hank. “We are thrilled that we are helping students possibly achieve the goals that cancer cheated Ryan from achieving.”