$2 Million Estate Gift to Benefit Harrison College of Business Scholarship Fund



Nov. 6, 2008 – The Southeast Missouri University Foundation has received a partial distribution of $2 million from the estate of Wilver W. Wessel to benefit the Wilver W. and Dolores H. Wessel Scholarship awarded to students in the Donald L. Harrison College of Business.

Wessel, a former Cape Girardeau postmaster, established the scholarship fund in his and his late wife, Dolores’, name in 1982. They were longtime activists in local civic affairs. The scholarship provides full fees to a student who demonstrates financial need from a middle- to low-income family. The eligible student must have a 3.0 grade point average, be a junior or senior in the College of Business, be of good moral character and live in the area between Ste. Genevieve and Dunklin and Pemiscot counties. A College of Business scholarship committee will select the recipient.

“Mr. Wessel was a friend of Southeast and its students throughout his life.  We are honored that he would choose Southeast to be the beneficiary of his estate,” said Trudy Lee, director of planned giving with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “The Wessel’s legacy is secure at Southeast and will make a significant difference in the lives of many students for years to come.”

“This gift will provide deserving students with the financial support that will allow them to reach their educational goals and professional success,” said Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of the Donald L. Harrison College of Business. “In these uncertain economic times, the availability of our endowed scholarships can be reassuring to prospective students and their parents. We’re extremely grateful for this act of generosity.”

McDougall says earnings on the Wessel endowment will generate significant funding to support a substantial number of new scholarship awards. 

“The scholarship awards will be used strategically to attract deserving students to the Harrison College of Business,” he said.

Wessel died July 31, leaving 20 acres of land, his home and cash to the University. The land is located southwest of the intersection of Highway 74 and Silver Springs Road.

Wessel was born May 14, 1919, in Cape Girardeau, the son of August and Emma (Suedekum) Wessel. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and had a passion for encouraging young people to learn to manage their finances. He and Dolores Holland were married on Aug. 21, 1942. She died May 8, 2003.