Sue and Jack Wakeley

Student-Athletes Benefit from Wakeleys' Gift of Time, Money

 Sue and Jack Wakeley (center) meet student athletes (from left) Zeb Johnson, Mike Malone and Annie Bailey.

Sue and Jack Wakeley (center) meet student athletes (from left) Zeb Johnson, Mike Malone and Annie Bailey.

When Jack Wakeley, former vice chancellor for academic affairs, stepped down from administration and returned to teaching, he was looking for a way to get back in touch with students. Wakeley, who served a year as interim chancellor after the retirement of Myron Coulter in 1994, became a volunteer assistant for the track, field and cross country squads. “It just seemed a good choice,” he said. “Both men and women are involved, with athletes ranging from freshmen to almost-graduated seniors. It would give me a chance to be physically active and outside, plus I figured I could probably be of use to Danny Williamson, a coach responsible for six sports and about 100 athletes.”

At an end-of-year athletics banquet, Wakeley noticed no scholarship awards were presented to students in track, field or cross country. That’s when he and wife Sue made a gift of $12,000 to provide scholarships in those sports. The fund, which has grown to more than $22,000, provides assistance to one female and one male student-athlete every year. Recipients of the Sue and Jack Wakeley Scholar Athlete Award must hold a grade point average of 3.0 or better, and must have tallied points in a conference championship meet. “Recognizing both men and women was important to us,” he said. “We believe the emergence of women’s athletics has been good for education at all levels and good for society, and we wanted to show our support.”

The Wakeleys say athletes are just one example of the many special groups of talented students —including those in music, art, drama and other areas—who benefit from private support. “We selected athletics for support because it has given us personal support and pleasure,” Wakeley said. “In the bigger picture, athletics helps our university’s recruiting efforts, brings good students to campus who might not otherwise be able to come, provides a link between our here and now and our alumni, and provides a way and form of teaching that is not otherwise available on campus.”


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