Scholarship Program Advances the Future of Rural Communities

The Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship has now contributed over a half a million to advance rural students by making college scholarships available. O’Connor Connective is pleased to be a partner in increasing the awareness and number of applicants. 

Ice cream. A love of the farm. And a pursuit of education. Much like the proverbial American dream, Thomas H. Lutsey’s legacy continues to advance all three.

Each year, the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship announces new recipients who will become part of tomorrow’s agricultural future—and who will have financial backing to realize the dreams they have for their own rural communities.

Thomas H. Lutsey was a dairy farmer from Pulaski, Wisconsin who dreamed about ice cream on a stick—and then figured out how to do it. He went on to create Gold Bond Ice Cream which later became Good Humor-Breyers. Lutsey’s passion for innovation led to numerous patents to make ice cream novelties like the Eskimo Pie.

Since 1986, nearly 100 rural students have benefited from over a half a million dollars in scholarships gifted through the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship. Today, the students typically receive a $10,000 scholarship given over four years.

2016 Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship Recipients

This year, four of the five scholarship recipients are children of Wisconsin farmers. “These students are the future of rural Wisconsin,” said Matt Lutsey, President of Waseda Farms. “Their commitment to go to school and then return to their farms or communities is something we believe in encouraging. They will bring with them new ideas, new innovations, and a love of the rural lifestyle that is so important to Wisconsin and our economy.”

Student Awareness of Scholarships is Critical to Ensure College Attendance

Today there is much discussion on the rising cost of college education. Families are concerned about how they will make college possible. This is giving some students the early idea that perhaps they should start working right after high school, or not plan on going to college at all.  This scholarship, in addition to others available in Northeast Wisconsin receive far too few applications each year. “We would love to see an increase in scholarships,” says Lutsey. “Students cannot receive the funding we offer, or any other local scholarship offers, if they don’t apply.” The scholarship is trying to increase its awareness by reaching out to 4H and FFA groups, high school counselors and directly with families. “We are not only trying to increase the awareness, but to streamline the process. Shortly we will launch an improved way to apply online.”

 A Generational Commitment to Farming and Education

Lutsey’s son, Tom Lutsey, continued his father’s passion for the farm and purchased land in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin that is now Waseda Farms. The organic farm has a store-front on the farm in Baileys Harbor as well as a Waseda Farms Market in De Pere, Wisconsin.

Matt Lutsey, grandson of Thomas H., recently attended the Pulaski High School

Academic Award Ceremony to award high school senior Tim Prestby his prize. “We know how important education is to the future of Wisconsin agriculture. Waseda Farms, through the legacy of Thomas H. Lutsey, will continue to encourage Northeast Wisconsin students like Tim to aim high,” said Lutsey.

The Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship is awarded to graduating seniors with a Northeastern Wisconsin rural background who are pursuing a college degree that will enhance rural communities. Special attention is given to those who plan to commit themselves to living and working in the area to advance Wisconsin’s agriculture future.  More on the scholarship can be found at www.lutsey.org.

Waseda Farms is a certified organic, sustainable farm that encourages the best environmental practices, humane animal treatment and provides agricultural jobs to the community. More on Waseda Farms can be found at www.WasedaFarms.com.