Wartburg College has received a $1.9 million estate gift to establish the Edward W. Jesse Jr. Endowed Scholarship and support the college’s Transforming Tomorrow comprehensive campaign.
The gift, provided by the Edward W. Jesse Jr. Trust, is one of the five largest estate gifts the college has received. Jesse’s father, Edward Sr., was an early contributor to Wartburg after the college permanently located to Waverly in 1935.
Jesse, a lifelong member of Zion Lutheran Church Jubilee, spent his life farming in the Jesup and La Porte City area where he lived until his passing in 2013. His gift speaks to the value placed in his Lutheran upbringing and Wartburg’s connection to the Lutheran Church.
“This is one of those heartfelt gestures that reminds us all of the incredible impact philanthropy can play in our lives,” said Scott Leisinger, Wartburg College vice president for institutional advancement. “Mr. Jesse obviously understood the importance of education, particularly the distinctive experience young people can have at a college of the church like Wartburg, and his commitment to support future teachers will benefit literally thousands of lives in the years to come.”
The endowed scholarship will be awarded to rising sophomores and juniors majoring in elementary education, with preference shown to students from Black Hawk or Buchanan counties.
“The endowment will provide essential resources that allow Wartburg education students to complete a highly respected elementary education degree,” said Kelly Faga, Department of Education chair. “The gift will be a permanent legacy to the education department and our students.”
Wartburg is one of four Iowa colleges and universities accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the standard of excellence in teacher preparation, and is one of two in Iowa to be nationally recognized by the organization for its elementary education program.