SEMO gets $750,000 endowment for business students

Saturday, September 7, 2002


By Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

Southeast Missouri State University has received a $750,000 charitable gift to its Harrison College of Business, the largest scholarship endowment ever made to the business school.

Interest on the money could fund scholarships for students as early as this fall, said Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of the business college. "That's $37,500 a year in scholarships that we will be able to award," he said Friday.

The gift came from the estate of St. Louis businessman William C. Volenetz, A Southeast alumnus who died in September 2001.

Scholarship recipients must maintain a 2.5 grade point average and preference will be given to St. Louis County students, school officials said.

McDougall said officials in his college have yet to decide how to structure the scholarships.

One possibility is to award $1,000 scholarships, which would be renewable from year to year.

"At any one time, we might be able to have somewhere between 20 and 30 students on scholarships," he said.

Even though the semester is already under way, McDougall said the university hopes to award several scholarships this fall. "We are actually trying to find some students that would qualify and benefit from that this semester."

The scholarships come at a time when students are burdened with escalating tuition costs.

"It's great timing," he said.

Volenetz was born in Cherryville, Mo., and graduated from Steelville High School. He attended Southeast from 1929 to 1933, graduating with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and business administration.

He worked for 45 years at the Brown Shoe Co., retiring as executive vice president of operations. He served as director of the First National Bank of St. Louis County.

Southeast gave him the Alumni Merit Award in 1989 in recognition of his business career.

Volenetz made other financial gifts to the university and other charities over the past three decades. In the late 1980s, he donated $70,000 to the Wesley Foundation to purchase the Wesley House at 415 N. Pacific, which provides a campus ministry.

335-6611, extension 123

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