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UW, Ellbogen Foundation Create First Endowed Deanship

December 16, 2020
old photo of man standing outside
John P. “Jack” Ellbogen

The University of Wyoming and the John P. Ellbogen Foundation have made history through the establishment of the university’s first endowed deanship in the College of Education.

“The naming of this deanship, first and foremost, is about honoring the vision and intent of the foundation benefactor, Jack Ellbogen, and his core values regarding the essential importance of quality teaching,” says the president of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, Mary Ellbogen Garland. “We are delighted to support the College of Education’s priority of exemplary teacher preparation, which results in enhanced learning for all students in Wyoming.”

The John P. “Jack” Ellbogen Deanship for the College of Education is the most recent gift from the John P. Ellbogen Foundation to UW and was made possible through a long-standing relationship between the two institutions. The generous support of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation has enhanced the trajectory of the College of Education.

“I am thrilled to see the creation of the John P. ‘Jack’ Ellbogen Deanship for the College of Education -- our first named deanship -- and I am deeply grateful to Mary Garland and the Ellbogen Foundation for making this possible,” says UW President Ed Seidel. “This sends an unmistakable signal that educating our next generation is of the highest importance as we strengthen our ability to fulfill our land-grant mission at UW. Further, this wonderful gift will help attract top candidates from across the country for the role of dean of the College of Education to UW -- and will provide critical support needed to move the college forward.”

To date, the partnership has resulted in significant levels of private funding -- establishing the Mary Garland Early Career Fellowship, the Ellbogen Teaching and Learning Symposium, the William G. Berube Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Ellbogen Dean’s Excellence Fund, the Ellbogen Foundation Early Literacy Fund, the Community Outreach and Partnership Fund in Literacy, and the Ellbogen Graduate Assistantship in Literacy, as well as others.

“The College of Education -- and its students, faculty and staff -- have benefited immensely from a close relationship that spans several decades with the John P. Ellbogen Foundation,” says College of Education Interim Dean Leslie Rush. “Gifts from the Ellbogen Foundation have been critical for important projects and events in the College of Education, including support for individual faculty research projects, speaker series and conferences, and a variety of outreach and engagement projects with Wyoming educators.”

Endowed faculty positions empower UW to attract a diverse candidate pool and retain strong educators. The John P. “Jack” Ellbogen Deanship for the College of Education will fund the initiatives of the appointed dean and help the College of Education secure a sustainable future for present programs and future innovations that foster excellence and address critical needs and priorities. The appointed dean will carry this title throughout his or her tenure.

“I’m excited and proud of this most recent gift from the Ellbogen Foundation, which has made it possible for the College of Education to have the first named deanship at the University of Wyoming,” Rush says. “Ultimately, the state of Wyoming and its children, families and communities will be stronger because of the partnership between the College of Education and the Ellbogen Foundation.”

Moreover, funding provided for the John P. “Jack” Ellbogen Deanship for the College of Education will be designated to attract prominent researchers and scholars, bringing new and leading-edge innovation in teacher education to UW.

John P. “Jack” Ellbogen was a Wyoming native, born in Worland. He attended UW and earned a bachelor’s degree in history, a law degree and an honorary doctorate from the College of Business. Ellbogen became an independent oil producer, forming several oil and gas companies.

Ellbogen attributed his success in business to the education he received at UW and was inspired by the outstanding teachers who encouraged him to work to his full potential. He believed in the importance of a quality education and was a strong advocate for teachers.

“Jack’s passion for teaching excellence was always so evident,” says UW Foundation President Ben Blalock. “His unwavering commitment to elevate Wyoming’s university played a major role in defining the pathway that the University of Wyoming Foundation has followed for decades. Working with Jack’s family through the years, as they carry forward his legacy, continues to be one of the greatest gifts I have enjoyed in my career with UW.”

Since Ellbogen’s passing in 2001, Mary Ellbogen Garland has cultivated her father’s legacy, overseeing the John P. Ellbogen Foundation as president and chair. Through her leadership, the foundation has spearheaded integral programs and initiatives that have empowered the people of Wyoming. The work of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation has been far-reaching, benefiting students and teachers on every level throughout the state.

“The impact of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation across the UW campus is remarkable,” Blalock says. “When I came to UW in 1996, I was privileged to enjoy many private conversations with Jack at his majestic IXL Ranch in Dayton.”

Blalock adds, “One thing that is so certain: Jack is smiling down on the UW family.”

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