Leslie & Helen R. Wilson Memorial Scholarship

Due April 20 - Annually

About the Scholarship / Eligibility

The purpose of the Leslie A. and Helen R. Wilson Memorial Scholarship is to provide financial assistance to residents of Webster County (Nebraska) who plan to enroll in a two- or four-year course of study in an agricultural or secondary education pursuit. Applicants must be a resident of Webster County and have attended a local high school, on schedule to graduate in the upper one-third the high school class, and an active participant in his or her church and community.

About the Wilsons

Leslie Wilson, son of Henry P. and Emma Wilson, was born November 20, 1894 and grew up at Geneva, Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Nebraska, served in World War I and after discharge homesteaded in Johnson County, Wyoming. While in Wyoming he also surveyed for the government. On return to Nebraska he and Helen M. Reiher were married February 9, 1923, at her parents home near Red Cloud, Nebraska. They lived in Seward where he was a very early Extension Agent and it was there that their son, Jack was born. Later they farmed near Beaver Crossing. In 1929 the family moved to Red Cloud to care for Helen's ailing parents, Frederick E. and Hermina Reiher.

Helen was born on the Reiher farm December 25, 1895, attended District #27 school, graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1913 and taught District #26 one year before attending the University of Nebraska, where she graduated in 1919. She taught one year at Wilbur and 3 years at Red Cloud before her marriage.

In 1936 Leslie, Helen and Jack moved to a farm in the Indian Creek community northwest of Red Cloud. In the 1940's the Inavale School Board asked Helen to teach and be principal, which was the beginning of a second teaching career. She served in many communities, enjoying the students and faculty wherever she went, until 1958 when it was necessary for her to retire and assist Leslie, who had suffered a stroke. He passed away at the farm in 1963 and though she later moved into Red Cloud, she looked after the farm while health permitted. She died in 1988. Both she and Leslie were strong advocates for education, he also having taught, as well as working for the Soil Conservation Service when called upon, in addition to farming.

Financial Data

One $500 scholarship will be awarded annually

Download the Wilson Scholarship Application

Graduation Robes

Student Scholarships

To further Cather’s legacy and to support the next generation of Cather readers and scholars, the Willa Cather Foundation annually awards a number of scholarships for college-bound students who desire to major in English or history, graduate students presenting on Cather at academic conferences, and educators interested in introducing Cather in the classroom. Please browse the descriptions that follow for more information and to download application forms.