Eklund Family Leaves Lasting Legacy of Support for Deserving J-School Students

It is an incredible privilege to financially support passionate students and watch them follow their dreams of becoming top tier communication professionals. It is another to provide that same support long after you’ve gone. For the Eklund family, that was exactly the kind of lasting impact they wanted to have on students.

Laurence (BA’27) and Ethel Eklund knew that they wanted to leave a legacy of support for communicators far into the future. In 1994, the Eklunds created an estate plan for their family and established the Laurence C. and Ethel C. Eklund Scholarship Fund to support the financial needs of students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Today, these funds are used to support deserving students in a variety of ways including summer internships.

Zoe Jaeger headshot
Zoe Jaeger (JBA’24), Summer Internship Scholarship recipient

Recent SJMC graduate Zoe Jaeger received a Summer Internship Scholarship funded by the generous funds provided by the Eklund family estate and will use it to support her role as the Sharon Stark Investigative Intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the very same newspaper where Mr. Eklund spent his career.

“This summer, I will be the Sharon Stark investigative journalism intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — the same paper for which Laurence Eklund was a reporter and Washington Bureau Chief,” Jaeger said. “With this scholarship, I am honored to carry his legacy with me, and I am dedicated to uplifting Wisconsin’s impressive and thriving journalism community.”

The Eklund Fund also supports deserving students through more general means such as tuition or textbooks and helps propel students in pursuit of their dreams.

Mingwei Liu headshot

“The Laurence C. and Ethel C. Eklund Scholarship presents a significant opportunity for me to advance my education and career in journalism and mass communication. This scholarship recognizes my commitment to academic excellence and hard work and endorses my dedication to using social media as an effective tool for conveying positive and meaningful messages,” said Mingwei Liu, a junior in the SJMC. “With this support, I am motivated to deepen my understanding of the constantly changing landscape of journalism and make a meaningful impact by promoting truth, integrity, and positive change through effective communication.”

Mr. Eklund was an American journalist and longtime head of the Washington bureau for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. After graduating from Tomahawk High School, he attended UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. During his time in Madison, Eklund served as associate editor of The Daily Cardinal and was elected to the Iron Cross Society, now called the Iron Shield Society, which recognizes students who have improved the campus community through their service and leadership.

Eklund graduated in 1927 and joined the Milwaukee Journal in August of that year. He specialized in Wisconsin politics, covering political campaigns, Wisconsin’s involvement in national conventions and the state legislature. Between political assignments, Eklund covered Milwaukee-area government and became quickly adept at providing the local angle to national stories.

In 1947, the Journal established a bureau in Washington D.C. with Eklund at its helm. During his 23-year tenure as bureau chief, Eklund covered national political conventions and nine presidential elections. He also regularly traveled to and reported on issues related to Sweden, from which his father emigrated. His contributions toward better Swedish-American relations earned him Sweden’s highest civilian honor, the Royal Order of the Northern Star. Eklund retired from the Journal in 1970 and was inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame in 1990.

Interested in learning more about estate giving?

Contact Marit Barkve at the Wisconsin Alumni Association Foundation at marit.barkve@supportuw.org or visit WFAA’s website.