University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumni Russ and Jean Hutchison feel passionately about giving a future student the same kind of opportunity they had in attending UW Oshkosh.

“Boy, if you can get through college and get through it without much debt, that’s a tremendous head start in the next phase of your life,” Russ Hutchison ’64, said.

Recently, Russ and Jean, of Waukesha, really began to think about what their education—and their subsequent life experiences—meant to them.

After much thought and consideration, they created the Hutchison First in the Family Scholarship, which will—after they are gone—provide financial assistance to first-generation college students pursuing an undergraduate degree in the College of Education and Human Services at UW Oshkosh. The scholarship was developed as part of their estate plans.

“These kinds of decisions evolve slowly over time, they don’t just jump into your head one day,” Hutchison said. “We hope this scholarship allows a student to go to college who probably wouldn’t get there without it. It’s tuition, books and fees.”

Russ and Jean Hutchison in 1964

Both Jean and Russ were first-generation college students. They met at UW Oshkosh, where they both studied mathematics. They both firmly believe their degrees helped move them forward and paved the way for the rest of their lives. Throughout their careers, Jean taught math and English at various levels, and later taught hand weaving—one of her passions, and Russ had several career pursuits, including engineering, law and as a trade association department director.

“The beauty of planned gifts is they allow people to retain their assets during their lifetime,” said Donna O’Brien, development director with the UW Oshkosh Foundation, the campus entity that facilitates donations. “And, it allows them to control the final distribution of the assets they worked so hard to acquire.”


Friends, like the Hutchisons, who establish a living legacy with the UW Oshkosh Foundation are recognized as members of the Rose Legacy Society. Soon, those members will be acknowledged within the new Alumni Welcome and Conference Center on a legacy donor wall.

“It’s such a pleasure working with people to explore how they want to be remembered, and the impact they want their final gift to make,” O’Brien said.

For more information about the UW Oshkosh Foundation, visit

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