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August 04, 2011
University of Dubuque Receives Substantial Gift for Endowed Scholarships

The University of Dubuque has recently received a generous gift of more than $800,000 from the estate of Helen E. Knuth (1912-2010) to establish the Paul and Sara Knuth Endowed Scholarship.  The scholarship is named to honor the memory of Helen's parents, Paul, a philosophy professor at UD from 1912-1919, and Sara Walker Knuth.  Paul died in 1919 at the age of 39, and Sara was left with two young daughters to support.  Sara told her daughters she was fortunate to have a college education.  Paul and Sara's commitment to education inspired their daughters, and this scholarship recognizes the high value the family placed on education.

Recipients of the scholarship will be full-time students with a GPA of at least 3.0, and who demonstrate their desire of earning a degree. They will be required to write a statement on the importance of earning a college degree or submit an excerpt from the entrance essay. Individuals selected have the possibility of renewal for three years if the recipients continue to meet the scholarship criteria.

"The University of Dubuque is immensely grateful for the endowed scholarship funds, a testimony to the continued support of Helen Knuth and her family," commented President Jeffrey F. Bullock.  "This is an incredible blessing producing a wonderful scholarship opportunity for our students.  Helen Knuth's life and work exemplifies the very best of the University's motto, `Many Gifts, One Spirit,' in service to church and world."

Dr. Helen Elizabeth Knuth was born in Hopkinton, IA and died in Clarion, Pennsylvania.  She graduated from the University of Dubuque with a bachelor's degree in 1933. She continued on to earn both her master of arts and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and demonstrated a passion for life-long learning.  She enlisted in the WAVES in 1944, and served two years as an officer in the Navy's public information and ordinance departments in Washington, D.C.   Helen taught at several schools and colleges in the Midwest and served as Dean at Milwaukee Downer College in Milwaukee, WI.  She spent the remainder of her career as a Professor of History at Clarion University in Clarion, PA from 1958 to her retirement in 1977.  

Helen's niece, Kris Kidd, commented on the significance of Helen's academic success in her eulogy, "When Helen was growing up, education for women was just beginning to take root.  Helen's friends and colleagues have said she was a role model for women students through her teaching and achievements."

 Kidd spoke of  Helen's accomplishments; including being a cancer survivor for over 30 years; traveling well into her 80's and her involvement in organizations, such as League of Women Voters, AAUW, and Clarion County Historical Society.  Helen's belief in helping others also inspired her to sponsor children in Greece, Ecuador, and Vietnam through the Foster Parents program.