Mary Lou Thornburg

Returning the Favor

Mary Lou Thornburg

Mary Lou Thornburg knows what it’s like to work hard to make it through college.

As a first-generation college student and the oldest of six children, she knew she’d have to fund college by herself. And she did. Along the way she worked many odd jobs and received two scholarships.

Now the retired Bridgewater State University physical education professor plans to help other college students struggling to get through financially. Thornburg has pledged a generous estate gift to further endow two scholarships honoring UW-L professors who left an impact on her.

One was Anna Thomas. “I feel a continuing bond in honoring her,” explains Thornburg. The other is A.B. Culver, whom she met through a national physical education organization. “I admired her leadership, commitment to the profession and dedication to UW-L,” she says.

These are only two awards to which she is contributing. She has established another scholarship and funded professional development opportunities for graduate students at Bridgewater.

“Knowing the financial burdens on today’s college students and hearing stories of many working several jobs and taking out loans, I decided I could help through my estate,” concludes Thornburg.