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Burmeister’s gift to create four new endowment funds in School of Education

December 16, 2016

Alumna Lou Ella Burmeister, a highly regarded professor emeritus of education at the University of Texas at El Paso, recently made a major commitment to UW-Madison’s School of Education in the form of a significant planned gift.

This remarkable donation will create four new endowment funds backing initiatives that are both important to the School of Education and that support projects near and dear to Burmeister.

Diana Hess
“The School of Education is incredibly grateful to Lou for making such an inspirational gift,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “As an academic and educator herself, Lou understands how such gifts are vitally important in our efforts to support talented students and provide the highest quality programs possible.”

Burmeister is a native of Milwaukee who received an undergraduate degree in 1949 and a master’s in 1951 from UW-Madison’s School of Education. She went on to earn a Ph.D. from the School’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction in 1966.

“The university was very good to me as a student and I hope this planned gift helps a lot of people,” Burmeister says.

Burmeister started her career as an assistant professor at UW-Madison before spending the summer of 1968 as a visiting professor at Syracuse University in New York. She then started her faculty position at the University of Texas at El Paso and spent the remainder of her academic career there.

Burmeister garnered recognition as an outstanding educator in her field as a professor of teacher education, and as coordinator of reading education at UTEP. She has written extensively about reading and literacy, publishing seven books, and has inspired many students to pursue the field of literacy education.

This major gift from Burmeister will support the Lou Ella Burmeister Fund, which will be used to create four new endowment funds within the School of Education.

The planned gift includes:

• Funding for a Lou Ella Burmeister Fellowship in Secondary Education that will provide support to students enrolled in the Master of Science for Teaching program.

• Support for the Lou Ella Burmeister Scholarship in Elementary Education, which will assist undergraduates enrolled in the Elementary Education Program.

• Funding to create the Alyce M. Burmeister Fellowship in Art to support graduate students within the School of Education’s Art Department. This gift recognizes Lou Ella’s sister, who earned her master of fine arts degree from UW-Madison before starting an academic career at the State University of New York in Oneonta.

• Support to create the Lou Ella Burmeister CCBC Fund, which will back programs associated with the Cooperative Children’s Book Center within the School of Education.

"This generous gift means the world to us at the CCBC,” says Kathleen T. Horning, the director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center.  “It will ensure that we can continue to assist School of Education students and faculty with finding the best books out there for children and teens, as well as offering our outreach services to Wisconsin teachers.”