Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

Endowed Scholarships Honor Marguerite McCall, William Wasnick

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Watson College of Education and the UNCW Division of University Advancement are pleased to announce the creation of two new named endowment funds that will provide scholarships for Watson College students.

The Marguerite West McCall Scholarship in Education was created by Dr. Catherine McCall and Barbara Pennington to honor McCall’s mother, “an astute lifelong student, gifted athlete and lover of life.” A celebration and signing ceremony was held at the Watson College on Sept. 25.

Jim and Celia Strouse created the William Thomas Wasnick Scholarship in Education in October. The gift is given in honor of Jim’s uncle, “to carry on his love of learning.” Wasnick was a military veteran and dedicated educator for more than 45 years in the state of Minnesota. A signing ceremony was held at the college on Oct. 16.

Scholarships such as these are critical to the success of the college, said Watson College Dean Van O. Dempsey.

“The generosity and commitment from friends of the Watson College as expressed through scholarship support ensures that we can recruit and educate talented students who will become outstanding professionals,” Dempsey said. “The Pennington/McCall and the Wasnick Scholarships will provide opportunities for outstanding educational experiences that will help students see their aspirations become realities.”

The Marguerite West McCall Scholarship in Education

Marguerite West McCall graduated magna cum laude from Centre College and earned her Master’s in Teaching from the University of Louisville. She taught public elementary school in North Carolina and Kentucky before completing her career as a principal and school administrator in Kentucky. After retirement, she moved to the Carolina coast with her husband, Curt, where she tutored local disadvantaged school children and supervised teachers in training at UNCW, working with WCE professor emerita Carol Chase Thomas.

A remarkable educator, Marguerite touched and influenced the lives of thousands of students and will be remembered on the short list of many students’ favorite teachers, her daughter said.

Dr. McCall, a child psychiatrist in Wilmington, earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNCW in 2003. She is married to Barbara J. Pennington, a Registered Nurse and lecturer in the Clinical Research Program of UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services.

At a signing ceremony held at the Watson College in September, Pennington said creating a scholarship to honor McCall’s mother had brought them great joy. She thanked Kevin Thompson, director of development for the Watson College and Lee Knight, director of planned giving at UNCW, “for giving ordinary people with ordinary salaries the opportunity to do something extraordinary.”

“My mom always said, ‘you can’t go wrong if you invest in education,’” Dr. McCall said. “It’s a delight to share my mom’s desire to help and inspire young people. This is what I feel we’re doing: giving someone an opportunity.”

The William Thomas Wasnick Scholarship in Education

William Thomas (“Bill”) Wasnick’s long career in education is honored with a new endowment fund in his name at UNCW.

Wasnick, originally from Cedar, MN, served in the U.S. Army during the Cold War before earning a Master of Education degree and wrestling varsity letter from the University of Minnesota. After graduation, he moved to Franklin, then Montevideo, MN, where he taught school and coached high school wrestling for almost 50 years. 

Wilmington residents Jim and Celia Strouse, longtime supporters of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNCW, established the endowment to honor Jim’s uncle.

A kind man with a quick smile, Wasnick could see the potential in every child and was always there giving to others who were less fortunate, the Strouses said.

“My uncle was a generous man who was greatly loved. He came from very humble beginnings, yet touched the lives of many and accomplished much,” Jim Strouse said. “Creating an endowed scholarship in his name is a way to carry on his love of learning and to support students who share that same passion.”