Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Former Chatham resident creates UIS Scholarship

Former Chatham resident Melissa Stout recently created the Jane and John Stout Educational Scholarship at the University of Illinois Springfield. The scholarship, named in honor of Melissa Stout's parents, is for graduates of Chatham’s Glenwood High School majoring in history, teaching or agriculture at UIS.

Melissa Stout created the scholarship shortly before she passed away on May 17, 2014. She said at the time, “My parents were giving, serving people. We felt that enabling and motivating students to pursue the same passions in the same community that Jane and John both called home would be a great way to honor their lives in a way that serves others.”

As a member of the first graduating class from Sangamon State University (now UIS), Jane Stout earned a master's degree in Psychology (1972) and another in History (1988). She taught in the Ball-Chatham School District for over 25 years. An expert in local history, several of her published works are available in the Chatham Area Public Library, including Chatham, Prairie Village: 1836-1986. She often had her students research and write about local history.

John Stout graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A World War II veteran, he farmed the family land near Chatham for over 50 years. Because of this, even though UIS does not currently have an agriculture major, the family included agriculture as a possible major for their scholarship recipient.

Like their father, daughters Melissa Stout, Jan Stout Day and Phyllis Stout graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The eldest daughter, Joan Stout Johnson-Blackwell, graduated from Western Illinois University. Many of the Stout grandchildren have gone on to pursue undergraduate and professional degrees as well.

Jan Stout Day, Melissa's sister, described her as "someone who was always concerned for others. She was always trying to make things better for the people around her."

For more information, contact Sarah Jennings, UIS director of corporate and foundation relations at 217/206-6058 or email sjenn02s@uis.edu.

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