Two UE Scholarships Benefiting Dubois County Residents Announced

Posted: Friday, June 27, 2014

The creation of two University of Evansville scholarships benefiting Dubois County, Indiana, residents was announced today during a media event at OFS Brands ECO Center in Huntingburg, Indiana. The Phyllis and Robert H. Menke, Sr., Dubois County Endowed Scholarship and the OFS Brands Endowed Scholarship were made possible by a gift of $2.1 million from the Menke family.

The Phyllis and Robert H. Menke, Sr., Dubois County Endowed Scholarship will be awarded annually to an underclassman, undergraduate student enrolled at UE who attended high school in Dubois County, and who demonstrates financial need. The scholarship was named in honor of the founder of OFS Brands Robert H. Menke, Sr., who died in 2008, and his wife Phyllis.

The OFS Brands Endowed Scholarship will be given each year with preference to an OFS Brands employee, or child or dependent of an OFS Brands employee. Second preference will be given to a graduate of a Dubois County high school and third preference will be to any UE student.

Eligible students will begin receiving the scholarships in 2015.

“We are very thankful,” says UE President Thomas A. Kazee, “to the Menke family for continuing their family legacy of assisting students who want to further their education.”

The Menke family have long been friends and supporters of the University of Evansville. Robert Menke, Sr., received the University of Evansville Medal of Honor in 1988 and the University’s Samuel Orr Honorary Alumni Award in 1996. His daughter Susan Kruger and grandson Ryan Menke are both UE graduates.

The creation of scholarships to enable residents of Dubois County to attend UE was something the Menke family felt was very worthwhile, says President of OFS Brands Robert “Hank” H. Menke, Jr.

“My father,” explains Hank Menke, “had a strong belief in the importance of small colleges such as the University of Evansville.”

There are 76 students currently enrolled at UE who are Dubois County high school graduates. In addition, more than 500 UE alumni live and work in Dubois County. A group of those alums got together a few years ago and began raising money to endow a UE scholarship for Dubois County high school graduates. The group raised about $25,000 before the Menke family added their substantial contribution which resulted in the Phyllis and Robert H. Menke, Sr., Dubois County Endowed Scholarship.

“It was a grassroots effort,” explains German American Bank Executive Vice President Brent Sternberg, one of the alums who helped with that fundraising. “There is a strong connection between Dubois County and UE and we want that to continue. And we all had a great experience at UE and wanted others from Dubois County to have that too.”

“Gifts like that don’t come along very often,” says Sternberg of the Menke gift. “We all owe – now and in the future - a big debt of gratitude to the Menke family.”

Menke says that, for their part, he and his family are very appreciative that the scholarship was named for his parents.

“We also really appreciate all the work everyone put into this to make this happen,” says Menke. “We are so glad it all came together. It’s a four way win-win. It benefits UE, it benefits OFS Brands, it benefits Dubois County and it benefits our family. We are very happy to be able to do this for our employees and students of Dubois County.”

President Kazee adds, “The generosity of the Menke family and the UE Dubois County Alumni Network will help students realize their dreams for years to come.”

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