We celebrate you – our donors – who give graciously to our students and programs. You help transform lives by partnering with the Foundation to encourage, support, and promote the educational goals of our students. Your philanthropic investment allows them to enhance their lives through education, training, and experience to realize their dreams.
We invite you to meet a few of the people who have chosen to contribute to the Nicolet College Foundation. Each individual and organization has different reasons for making a contribution. These donors share why it’s so important to them to support the Nicolet College Foundation.
A Vision for Education
After graduating from Nicolet College, Lynn Hudson earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a PhD in genetics and cell biology at the University of Minnesota, and completed her post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hudson spent 30 years doing research at the National Institutes of Health as the head of the Laboratory of Developmental Genetics and later taking the helm at the Office of Science Policy Analysis.
Her father, Dr. Steger, helped create Nicolet College. “Even when my dad started in 1969, he really believed in lifelong learning. That was a time when that was such a novel concept,” Dr. Hudson recalls. Dr. Hudson never forgot the important role Nicolet College played in her life, saying, “It really prepared me. I look back at my educational life, and I’d say in all that time, about a half dozen people really influenced me with their passion for the subject and their drive, and half of those were here.”
Dr. Hudson established the Dr. Robert Steger Award in her father’s memory for students graduating from Nicolet College and transferring to a four-year college or university, and she makes a contribution to this award every year. After more than 50 years, the Steger family is still making a difference in the Northwoods community. Theirs is a lasting legacy made possible by a lifetime of philanthropy carried on from one generation to the next.
A Family Legacy
The Mendham family’s connection to Nicolet College dates back to the very beginning, more than 50 years ago, when Nicolet College was first opening. Dick remembers, “One day I got a call from President Richard Brown and Dr. Steger, and they asked if they could interview me, and they said they were looking for someone to work in the hospitality program. We didn’t have a college out here at that point.” Dick’s education and experience running Sunrise Lodge with his wife Elsie in Land O’ Lakes made him a perfect fit to start what is now the Culinary Arts program.
Dick worked at Nicolet College for ten years and has been a Foundation donor since the 1970s. “It’s a great way to support the College and the future students and the future people getting into that field.” The Mendhams have made their philanthropic decisions together, and Elsie says, “It’s worth helping other people. It’s a good thing to do.” Vicki, one of Dick and Elsie’s daughters, has always had a passion for cooking, but she didn’t always see herself using that passion in the classroom. Her dad talked her into teaching one class. Vicki remembers going into this thinking, “One class can’t hurt me! I’ll try it out and see how I like it, and that was 28 years ago.”
As a full-time Culinary Arts instructor, Vicki takes her role in helping to train current and future employees seriously. “Right now restaurants need employees, they need trained employees, and that’s always going to be part of the Northwoods. We try to change with the times and add new classes,” Vicki says.
As an employee and donor, Vicki also serves as chairperson of the Nicolet College Foundation Employee Giving Campaign, saying, “I can see in the classroom how that helps our students succeed. Sometimes just a little scholarship is the difference between them continuing on and not continuing on.”
Nicolet College will always be a big part of the Mendham family. “My dad started here a long time ago and we took classes here. My daughter’s taken classes here. My sister taught here, my mom taught some classes here. It’s part of the family. From as far back as I can remember, we’ve been at Nicolet.”
Their ties to Nicolet College will continue long into the future. Vicki’s daughter Kayla is already a donor, saying, “My mom has actually always encouraged me to donate to the Foundation. Just knowing that we can help people to really live their dreams and get the most out of the experience that they can. I’m just really proud of my grandpa, grandma, and my mom for giving some hope to people.”
– Vicki Mendham, Nicolet College Culinary Arts Instructor and Foundation Donor
Friends and Partners Award
The Nicolet College Foundation honors Aspirus MedEvac with the 2023 Friends and Partners Award for their continued partnership in providing full-scale, hands-on immersive learning simulations for Nicolet College health and public safety students.
Aspirus MedEvac Regional Manager Charles Kotke says the collaboration between the public safety team and nursing students through simulations supports the needs of public safety. “The collaboration really does grow the values of our organization, right alongside Nicolet College,” Kotke adds. “Getting an award like this inspires the entire team.”
Nicolet College Associate Dean of Public Safety Jason Goeldner says the partnership offers a solution to the shortage of employees for EMS ground crews, as well as the high demand for education of EMS services at the College. “Without question, Aspirus MedEvac is a valuable partner for Nicolet College,” says Goeldner.
Earlier this year, Aspirus also donated an ambulance to the Nicolet College Foundation to continue supporting the College’s already strong experiential learning opportunities. “Their commitment to enhancing the education that Nicolet College provides will have a lasting impact in our community,” says Nicolet College Foundation Board President John Schiek.
A Local Partnership
Superior Diesel President Brian Wendt believes his company’s partnership with the Nicolet College Foundation is a collaborative way to support the educational community. “I believe anything can be achieved if a person has the right attitude. But an individual must take the initiative to find a mechanism that continually stretches or challenges him or her to learn more and pursue their passion. There is no better way to do that than by taking courses at Nicolet College,” says Wendt.
The Superior Diesel Endowment solidifies the company’s commitment to students by providing them with scholarship funds to be used for a student enrolled in any Nicolet College program. Wendt adds, “Nicolet has a great ability to work with people and come up with creative ideas to help businesses solve a problem, address a concern, or develop a curriculum to help students prepare for what is needed in the workforce.”
–Brian Wendt, Superior Diesel President
“I don’t think I’ve ever considered not giving.”
A Community Commitment
Paul Marquardt has come a long way since he started working for Vern Kohlbeck at Northwoods Mobil in 1979. At the time, Marquardt was a Rhinelander High School student and, looking back, readily admits he didn’t even know how to change oil.
“Vern taught me about customer service and automobiles, as my mentor, for a decade. He took a risk on me by selling me his shop.” Vern must have known what he was doing because almost 30 years after that sale, Marquardt still owns, what is now, Northwoods Auto Techs.
Marquardt cares about this community. One of the ways he gives back is with contributions to the Nicolet College Foundation. “I wanted to pay it forward. Somebody took a chance on me years ago. Vern did that for me. Once we were in a position to help someone else achieve their goals, it seemed like a good fit.”
Marquardt contributes to a scholarship in Vern’s name every year. “If we’re making an impact on one person’s life, it’s well worth it. It’s a good feeling and it’s the right thing to do. I don’t think I’ve ever considered not giving.”
– Paul Marquardt, Master Technician/Owner, Northwoods Auto Techs and Nicolet College Foundation Donor
“We believe in the opportunities Nicolet Provides students”
After the death of George’s mother, Grace Juetten, we established the Culinary Arts scholarship in her memory. Grace was actively involved in scholarship support for the Rhinelander Community. We decided to ensure these scholarships continue after our deaths by including a bequest to Nicolet College in our estate plan. We encourage others to consider the Nicolet College Foundation in their estate plans. It’s a wonderful way to ensure financial support isa available for students to achieve their dreams.
–Sondra and George Juetten
Are You Interested in Becoming a Donor?
To discuss a gift that changes the lives of Nicolet College students, please contact
Heather Schallock, Nicolet College Foundation executive director
Vice President of Community Engagement and Executive Director of the Nicolet College Foundation
Red Oak Center - 103
800.544.3039 ext 4518