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Release: Oct. 5, 1999

UI alumna establishes Liberal Arts scholarships with gift

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A gift from a University of Iowa alumna will establish two new undergraduate scholarships in the College of Liberal Arts. Robin Winter Odem, a Wapello native who earned a B.A. in history in 1961, gave the gift in memory of her husband, Richard J. Odem, and her mother, Jean H. Winter.

The Richard J. Odem Scholarship will be given annually to a junior majoring in mathematics, statistics, or economics. The Jean H. Winter Scholarship will be awarded annually to a junior social work major. Both are $1,500 scholarships that will be given to students who are Iowa residents and who demonstrate academic achievement and economic need.

Jean H. Winter earned a B.A. in physical education and dance from the UI in 1921 and worked in the county engineer's office in Wapello until she was 95 years old. She died in April 1995 after a brief illness.

Robin W. Odem grew up in Wapello and still maintains a home there, although she lives in Chicago, where she worked as a school social worker in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly 24 years. She earned a Master's of Social Work in 1966 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Richard J. Odem, an Ottumwa native, earned a B.A. in economics from the UI in 1967 and worked for the American Medical Association in Chicago until his death in August 1995.

"Richard was an inspiration and a role model to many people in demonstrating courage and determination while constantly battling cancer for 11 years, " Robin Odem said. Before he died, Richard asked Robin to make a gift to the UI.

"He wanted me to do something creative, so I developed the idea for these scholarships," she said. "Both my mother and Richard were such exemplary role models and demonstrated such courage in their lives. That's why I wanted to dedicate these scholarships in their memories. By establishing them now, I can be here to meet the students, know them personally, and follow their progress."

The first Richard J. Odem Scholarship has been awarded to Jill Anne Thornton, a mathematics major from Cedar Rapids. The first recipient of the Jean H. Winter Social Work Scholarship is Tisa Thomsen of Cedar Rapids.

"Gifts like this are a wonderful resource for the college and its departments," said Rich Wretman, director of development for the College of Liberal Arts. "Such generosity allows us to recognize and reward deserving students."

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff members work with alumni and friends to provide support for a broad range of programs and projects at the University of Iowa.