Advancement & Public Services

Gerald & Linda Patton Scholarship in Humanities & Social SciencesPatton

“We hope that this modest gift will encourage others to give to enable WIU to continue to build a strong legacy of providing lasting learning experiences to students in a supportive environment,” say 1973 graduates Linda W. and Gerald W. Patton.

The Pattons have recently committed $25,000 to establish The Patton Minority Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Gerald and Linda have each served in various capacities in higher education over the past thirty years, including roles as faculty and administrators. They embrace education as a core value and believe that education is a key to success in life. The Pattons have established their scholarship to provide encouragement and support to others to achieve their higher education goals.

The Pattons were already married with their baccalaureate degrees behind them when they came to Western to attend graduate school. While Linda completed a master of science in counseling and college student personnel, Gerald continued his study of history, earning a master of arts. The Pattons highly value their educational experiences at Western. For Gerald, Western was where he solidified his confidence and motivation to pursue his doctorate.

“It was at Western where I really came to understand history as an academic discipline,” said Gerald. “While there, my interest evolved into a passion. I was fortunate to encounter several professors from whom I received intellectual challenge and encouragement professors Victor Hicken, my thesis advisor, and Robert Elkin who taught historiography were two of them. I attribute my experience at Western with providing me with the necessary skills, intellectual and interpersonal, to achieve the next big challenge, the Ph.D.,” Gerald continued.

Linda, under the tutelage of Dr. Kenneth Sproull, her mentor, remains passionate about the importance of providing exceptional service in her chosen role in higher education. “This scholarship is my small way of honoring Dr. Sproull (founder of the CNED/CSP Program) and his memory for the impact he had on my early professional development,” explained Linda. “I hope that it will assist students as emerging professionals to benefit from similar experiences and opportunities that were afforded me while at WIU, i.e. high quality education, psychological support, confidence building, and an opportunity for my first job working in the Counseling Center.”

From WIU, the Pattons moved to the University of Iowa, where Gerald earned his Ph.D. and Linda worked in the University’s counseling center. Their careers have taken them from coast to coast – New York to California. The Patton’s reside in San Diego; presently, both are working at California State University – Fullerton; Gerald as the Director of Assessment and Educational Effectiveness, Linda as Director of the Office of Grants and Contracts.

The Patton Scholarship will benefit undergraduates in good academic standing with an interest in a career associated with the humanities and/or social sciences. Preference will be given to students from underrepresented groups.

“The College of Arts and Sciences is truly indebted to the generosity of Gerald and Linda,”