Retired Schoolteacher Leaves $700K Bequest to Support Future Educators

aliceHSU alumna Alice Whitson (Education ‘53) recently left a $678,947 bequest to support future teachers at Humboldt State University. Alice’s bequest will go toward enhancing the Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential Program.

A lifelong teacher, Alice attributed her success to the high-quality and affordable education she received at Humboldt State. Alice remained grateful for her HSU education and carried that gratitude throughout her life. When she died on August 9, 2014, at the age of 82, she showed her gratitude and care for future generations by leaving her entire estate to HSU.

“This gift is so appreciated and will make a real difference for our students, helping with program development and scholarships. Teacher education has been a strong tradition at HSU, and Alice’s bequest will empower us to move the program forward into the future,” says Chris Hopper, Interim Dean in the College of Professional Studies.

Alice’s bequest establishes the Alice Louise Whitson Endowment to support future generations of aspiring school teachers. Endowments work by investing a donor’s contribution long-term and using only the income generated each year for educational programming, in perpetuity.

Alice grew up in Eureka and went on to teach in several Humboldt County elementary schools, including Blue Lake and Redwood Creek. She eventually moved to Willow Creek, where she taught school until she retired. It was also in Willow Creek where she met her husband, Charles.

As a teacher, Alice taught kindergarten through third grade. She particularly enjoyed teaching third-grade students because she had a knack for connecting with them through language arts. “It was a joy to see them blossom,” she once said about nurturing students’ skills and confidence in the classroom.

According to her friend Bev Westman and her sister-in-law, Joanne Stockoff, Alice was famous for using Willow Creek peaches in her pies and cobblers, her considerable skill at Scrabble, and her love for St. Bernard dogs. Described by her friends as classy but down to earth, Alice had a positive impact on the lives of many young students during her career.

Alice firmly believed that free public education for young people made the country great. Her bequest captures the spirit of her belief in the power of education to transform lives. Though she’s gone, the beauty of Alice’s endowment is that it will allow her to help students for generations to come.