"UNI holds a special place in my heart," says Marty Gilson,'73, '76. "Not only did it prepare me for my career, I met my wife, Myral, when I was a junior and she was a sophomore. We married a year later."
"I attended UNI with the help of the G.I. Bill," Marty explains. "It helped take financial pressure off me. Now I want to help current students. They have so many pressures financially, academically and socially. Myral and I established the Martin and Myral Swan Gilson Endowed Scholarship."
After Myral passed away last year, Marty established the Wilma Hefty Clancy Endowed Graduate Assistantship to provide a summer intern for the Rural School Collection program. The assistantship was named after Myral's grandmother, who attended Iowa State Teachers College and taught in rural schools.
"My parents taught me to give back to the community," Marty says.
His father was a farmer, and season after season, Marty witnessed neighbors helping neighbors by sharing machinery and being there for each other. As a member of the Kings Daughters, his mother helped raise funds for orphans.
"She was always helping somebody," he recalls.
Following his parents' example of helping, Marty chose a career in teaching, which later led to a master's degree in college student services and a 24-year career at Arizona State University.
"My experience as an RA (resident assistant) at UNI and experiences in the classroom and beyond helped prepare me for a successful career in student services," he says.
The Gilsons' generous spirit of philanthropy will continue to impact students for generations to come through their scholarships and a gift in their will.