Retired Teacher Leaves Nearly $700K to Support Future Educators
HSU ALUMNA ALICE WHITSON (’53, Education) recently left a $678,947 bequest to support future teachers learning at Humboldt State University. Whitson’s bequest will enhance the Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential Program.
Whitson’s estate gift is exceptional for HSU, which receives more than 20,000 gifts annually totaling about $6 million per year in charitable support.
A lifelong teacher, Whitson attributed her success to the high-quality and affordable education she received at Humboldt State. Whitson remained grateful for her HSU education throughout her life. When she died on Aug. 9, 2014, at the age of 82, she showed her gratitude and care for future generations by leaving her entire estate to HSU.
“This gift is so appreciated and will make a real difference for our students, helping with program development and scholarships. Teacher education is a strong tradition at HSU, and Alice’s bequest will empower us to move the program forward into the future,” says Chris Hopper, Interim Dean in the College of Professional Studies.
Whitson’s bequest establishes the Alice Louise Whitson Endowment to support future generations of aspiring school teachers. Endowments work by investing a donor’s contribution long-term and using only the income generated each year for educational programming, in perpetuity.
Whitson grew up in Eureka and went on to teach in several Humboldt County elementary schools, including Blue Lake and Redwood Creek. She eventually moved to Willow Creek, where she taught until she retired. It was also in Willow Creek where she met her husband, Charles.
As a teacher, Whitson taught kindergarten through third grade. She particularly enjoyed teaching third-grade students because she had a knack for connecting with them through language arts. “It was a joy to see them blossom,” she once said about nurturing students’ skills and confidence in the classroom.
According to her friend Bev Westman and her sister-in-law, Joanne Stockoff, Whitson was famous for using Willow Creek peaches in her pies and cobblers, her considerable skill at Scrabble, and her love for St. Bernard dogs. Described by her friends as classy but down to earth, Whitson had a positive impact on the lives of many young students during her career.
Whitson firmly believed that free public education for young people made the country great. Her bequest captures the spirit of her belief in the power of education to transform lives. Though she’s gone, the beauty of Whitson’s endowment is that it will allow her to help students for generations to come.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about the Alice Louise Whitson Endowment, or to learn about other ways to support HSU students and the community, contact the Office of Philanthropy at , 707-826-5200, or visit at loyalty.humboldt.edu.