Earl and Vera Mae Kjer Memorial Scholarship

Departments: Music and Theatre Arts Categories: Education | Secondary Education | Theatre Arts
Amount One award of $1,500.
Availability Annually
Eligibility Criteria Available to drama majors or minors of sophomore standing or higher are full-time students. Preferably a candidate in secondary education who expects to teach in the field.
Application Procedure Go to the Gold for Blugolds Scholarship Network. For first time music students, complete the Music and Theatre Arts Audition Application. For continuing music students, complete the Music and Theatre Arts Scholarship Application.
Selection Procedure Theatre faculty review the applications and vote for outstanding candidates, who are rated by classroom and theatre production achievement, as well as lifetime goals.
Notification The recipient of the scholarship will receive official notification from the department of Music and Theatre Arts.
Special Notes

In 1943 Earl Kjer (pronounced care) joined the faculty at Wisconsin State Teachers College to head speech and theatre. The quality of the theatre productions became popular with the community and drew large audiences. In 1947 Eau Claire became the first teacher's college in the nation to be admitted to membership in the National Collegiate Players.

Kjer played an important role in the design and building of the complex at the corner of Park and Garfield which was dedicated in 1952. At the time The Little Theatre “was one of the finest for stage, workroom, wardrobe, and dressing areas in the country”. Kjer, another faculty member, and the National Collegiate Players worked for years to raise money to equip the theatre.

Earl and Vera Mae developed close bonds with many of the theatre and speech students and maintained those relationships with alumni. Vera Mae Kjer was a former home economics teacher and they often graciously entertained students and alumni in their home, across the street from the campus. Earl was known as “Papa” Kjer to the students. Together Earl and Vera Mae organized and chaperoned trips to Chicago and New York so student could experience professional and Broadway plays.

In his twenty-three years at Eau Claire Earl Kjer directed over 60 plays, taught all the theatre classes, and administered the theatre program. During that time Earl Kjer was the theatre program. In the spring, 1964, Kjer, chairman of the department of speech, because of ill health announced his retirement from directing plays. In his honor The Little Theatre was renamed the Earl S. Kjer University Theatre. Earl Kjer died in 1965. At that time the Earl and Vera Mae Kjer Memorial Scholarship Fund was established and continues to honor the legacy of the Kjers. Vera Mae Kjer died in 2001.

Thank You Recipients should wrote a letter of thanks to Ann Glock, niece of Vera Mae Kjer, and send it in care of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.