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25th Anniversary of the Norma Ross Walter Scholarship Program

25th Anniversary of the Norma Ross Walter Scholarship Program

Monday, April 18, 2011

Willa Cather Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Norma Ross Walter Scholarship Program

Red Cloud, Nebraska, March 30, 2011 — Since 1987, the Willa Cather Foundation has awarded 29 scholarships totaling more than $140,000 through the Norma Ross Walter Scholarship program. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Foundation’s effort to provide scholarship support to female Nebraska high school graduates who continue their higher education as English majors in accredited colleges or universities.

The Scholarship award-presentation--scheduled for April 29th at 10:45 a.m.--will have a special feature at the 56th Annual Willa Cather Spring Conference. Virgil Albertini, Chairman of the Scholarship program, has been in contact with past scholarship recipients and several will attend this year’s anniversary celebration. “It’s thrilling to hear their stories,” Albertini stated, and “we look forward to seeing them back to help us celebrate this milestone year.” He added that “among those returning are the first and third honorees. Cather would be extremely proud of all of them and delighted with their many accomplishments."

At the Norma Ross Walter Scholarship award-presentation, three young women will officially join the family of others who have received this prestigious honor. This year's three finalists, who will graduate from their respective high schools in May, will give their original essays on Cather, which is a part of the Scholarship's extensive application process. This event is a time-honored tradition and always appreciated by the Conference attendees. Jamie DeTour of Hastings High School has the distinction of being the twenty-fifth first place scholarship recipient and will receive $1,000. Emily Burns of Blair High School is to be awarded the $750 prize for first runner-up. And the $500 scholarship for second runner-up will be presented to Laura Sunderman of Hastings High School.

The Scholarship fund was established through a generous bequest from Norma Ross Walter. Walter served in the Navy (Waves) during World War II. After the war, she graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, and she received a master’s in literature from Mills College. She subsequently accepted a position as assistant editor of the Grapevine, Mare Island’s Naval Shipyard’s official newspaper. Ms. Walter became the editor in 1957, a position she held until her retirement in 1973. She was an avid reader of Willa Cather’s works and frequently visited Red Cloud and Catherland. Ms. Walter died in California in 1982.

The award presentation will be held at the Red Cloud Opera House on Friday, April 29 from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The event is open to the public.