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Endowments to benefit nontraditional and education students

Upper Iowa University has announced two newly endowed scholarships that will be awarded for the first time during the 2019-20 academic year.

The May (Cliff) Davig Scholarship was recently endowed by May Davig ’95 and her husband, Dale. May was working in the chancellor’s office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when she was encouraged by a coworker to complete her degree. May attended UIU’s Madison Center, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in management in 1995.

The scholarship will be awarded by the Honors and Awards Committee to nontraditional adult learners. All scholarships will be for one academic year, but are renewable so long as satisfactory academic progress is maintained. If, in a particular year, there are no qualified applicants, the University shall reserve the funds for subsequent years when qualified applicants are identified. Scholarships awarded by the fund will be applied to the cost of attending the University.

The Joyce A. Lang Teacher Education Scholarship was also recently started at UIU. Gerald Lang established the endowed scholarship in tribute to his wife, Joyce (Ries) Lang ’66, in recognition of her 44-year career as a public school educator.

Joyce A. Lang ’66

The scholarship will be awarded to an Iowa resident attending Fayette Campus and majoring in teacher education (pre-K through 6th grade). The scholarship recipient will be an incoming freshman with financial need and a cumulative 3.0 or better grade point average. Eligible students will submit a letter describing why they want to pursue a career in teaching. Preference will be given to a student from rural Iowa. The scholarship is renewable through the recipient’s senior year (maximum of four years). Upon awarding of the scholarship, recipients will receive a biographical sketch of Joyce (Ries) Lang. The biographical sketch can be viewed below.

“The establishment of these and similar scholarships are linked to the philosophies that Upper Iowa University shares with the donors in recognizing the need of students to earn a degree to fully reach their educational and career goals,” Upper Iowa University President William R. Duffy said. “The entire University greatly appreciates their gifts in establishing these scholarships and in joining our growing number of alumni and friends who are truly ‘paying it forward’.”

Approximately 175 scholarships are awarded each spring as part of the annual UIU Scholarships and Awards Banquet. The list of 2019 recipients can be found on Bridge Online at https://bit.ly/2F9G7BZ.

For more information about how to establish or contribute to an endowed scholarship or program, or to become a Heritage Society member, please contact the UIU Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Development at alumni@uiu.edu or (563) 425-5388.

Biographical sketch of Joyce A. Lang

Joyce Lang (nee Joyce A. Ries) was born in 1943 to parents who were farmers in Ionia, Iowa. She was the sixth of seven children and was expected to help with farm chores and marry a farmer.

Joyce, however, had other plans.  She was going to college, earn a degree in teacher education, and then help children strive to achieve their potential, thereby making a difference in their lives. After high school, Joyce took out a loan from the local bank and in 1961 enrolled in Upper Iowa University. In the spring semester of her junior year, she convinced the University to allow her to do her student teaching at the New Hampton Public School.

The next year (1964-65) she was hired full-time for a first-grade position at the Plainfield Public School (1965-66).  She then taught one year as a kindergarten teacher at the South Hampton Public School. During these two years, Joyce continued her education at Upper Iowa at night, on weekends, and over the summer, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in elementary education in August 1966.  Joyce earned her Master of Arts degree with a major in curriculum and instruction in 1977 from West Virginia University and earned additional 45 hours of graduate education.

Joyce retired in 2008 after 44 years of public school teaching – Iowa (2 years) New Jersey (7 years as a kindergarten teacher and a teacher trainer), New Hampshire (3 years as a program advisor), and West Virginia (32 years as a third-grade teacher). During her career, she also taught WVU classes on learning styles as an adjunct faculty member from 1990 to 2000.

Joyce was successful in and out of the classroom. She was creative in her curriculum design and in the methods she used to encourage her students to learn. In New Jersey, she taught kindergarten and used T4C (industrial arts technology for children) as a way to motivate her students. Because of her success in the classroom, she was asked to write curriculum for the New Jersey Department of Education using industrial arts as a learning tool and ran state-sponsored workshops using demonstration classrooms.

In New Hampshire, she was a program advisor for five schools and 28 teachers in the Follow Through Project, making classroom observations, providing one-on-one training, and leading in-service programs on “responsive education.”

While teaching in West Virginia, Joyce noticed a serious lack of interest in reading amongst her children; she co-founded the West Virginia Children’s Book Award which eventually reached 35,000 children throughout the state and encouraged the celebration of the commitment to reading. She also became involved through West Virginia University in 4MAT (a learning styles approach to teaching). Among her many successful teaching units, one focused on art and impressionist artists, where her third grade students learned to appreciate, write about, and discuss art in a holistic way.  As a result, students were asking their parents to visit art museums while on vacation.

Joyce was selected as the Monongalia County Teacher of the Year in 1991 and was one of eight finalists for the West Virginia Teacher of the Year Award in 1992. Joyce also was one of 10 West Virginia teachers who received the Ashland Oil Achievement Award for excellence in teaching in 1992.

Joyce always remembered why she wanted to be a teacher, namely to help young children like herself, from rural communities and economically disadvantaged families, reach their potential. In her many classrooms, she was always struck by the open minds and thirst for knowledge that young children possessed. Her philosophy was that teachers are not givers of information but rather guides to information, that learners gain knowledge when they take ownership for their own learning. None of the success she had in her career would have been possible if Upper Iowa University had not given her the chance to push the envelope and spread her wings.

Joyce touched many lives throughout her teaching career.  Many of her students are now adults and often still stop to tell her things they remember from her class and the great impact she had on their lives. To many, she was their favorite teacher.

This scholarship, in Joyce’s honor, continues her legacy of helping future students at Upper Iowa University become teachers who have a passion for helping children.

Gerald E. Lang
February 2019

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