In the early 1950s, Pat Mertens learned chemistry from Milford Cowley, physical education from Emma Lou Wilder and history from Myrtle Trowbridge. She later served students for 26 years in buildings named after these legends. Pat is well-versed in UWL's great history, but she is also about contributing to its future.
When she retired from UWL in 1995 as assistant director of career services, her colleagues established the Patricia A. Mertens Scholarship Fund. Pat has now established a legacy gift by naming UWL as a beneficiary in her estate plan including a retirement annuity. Pat's gift will fund the Patricia A. Mertens endowments in exercise and sports science and the School of Education. In addition to those funds, Pat's generosity will benefit the Norene A. Smith Endowed Scholarship in student affairs administration and the UWL Alumni Association.
"I hope it encourages others to set up scholarships and establish a legacy gift for UWL students so they are able to reach their career goals," she says.
Pat was able to achieve her goals, earning a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1956 and a master's degree in college student personnel in 1971. She went on to teach physical education for 13 years in schools in Wisconsin and the state of Washington before beginning her career at UWL, serving in residence life, admissions and career services.
Pat spent a good deal of time helping students establish their career goals. But she often found conversations leading to students' family and personal life. Pat became well aware of not only the great potential of these students, but also their financial needs.
"I enjoyed working with UWL students and I want to help students as much as I can—even after retirement," she says.