Mr. and Mrs. Bill Wilkison Jr. of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, made a $10,000 gift to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation to establish the award in honor of a family of educators, scientists and artisan graduates. They hope this scholarship will help future students achieve and enjoy the same career and life successes they have experienced.
The scholarship will be awarded to a full-time student enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. The recipient of this scholarship will be awarded to a full-time student pursuing a degree in chemistry with second preference given to a full-time student majoring in math. Financial need will be considered, but a FAFSA form is not required.
Though not a graduate of Southeast, William Wilkison Sr. graduated from then Central Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music and minor in physics. He later earned a Master of Education from Washington University in St. Louis and enjoyed a 40-plus-year career as a dedicated classroom instructor in the Sikeston (Missouri) Public Schools system, retiring as the coordinator of math and science curriculum.
His wife, Mary Wilkison, graduated from Southeast in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. This was followed by a 25-plus year career as a fourth and fifth grade elementary teacher in Sikeston. After her retirement, Mary was visited and recognized by many of her former students who remembered her as a significant mentor who helped launch them toward a wide variety of successful careers.
Mary (Ellen) Wilkison Miller, though not a graduate of Southeast, went on to a career in nursing. She earned a Registered Nurse in nursing from the Methodist School of Nursing in Memphis and a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Southwestern University in Memphis. In partnership with her husband, Dr. Jordan Miller, she had a 40-plus year career in their plastics and reconstructive surgery practice in Seattle, Washington.
Bill Wilkison Jr. graduated from Southeast in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and math, and a minor in physics. While at Southeast, Bill enjoyed a wide variety of activities and graduated as a member of the Men’s Honor Fraternity, Cardinal Key. Following graduate school at the University of Kansas, Bill went on to a successful 30-plus-year career with Celanese Chemical Company in numerous locations in Texas. This was followed by a partnership with friends to establish a private company, TriQuest, that, through a series of acquisitions and mergers across another 10 years, became a business unit in DuPont. Bill was president of that business until his full retirement in 2005.
Though dedicated to the sciences and education in careers, the family also has enjoyed a vigorous “life outside work” with pursuits in music, the arts, gardening, beekeeping, backpacking and sports. The Wilkisons also serve in volunteer capacities with church choirs, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), American Red Cross, soup kitchens, community choirs, choruses and orchestras in a spirit of giving back to the community.
International travel, adventure and their educational roots have contributed significantly to the rich life this family has enjoyed. They have passed on these passions to their children who have had their own rewarding careers in science, education and medicine as well.
For more information, please contact the Southeast Missouri University Foundation at (573) 651-2203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.