University News

Dean and Ellen Zoerink Establish Scholarship

May 29, 2015

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MACOMB, IL - To celebrate their retirements from Western Illinois University in May 2015, Dean and Ellen Zoerink have established a scholarship to recognize students committed to pursuing careers in human services.

Dean, known as Dr. Z, joined the faculty in Western's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) in 1992 to further develop the department's therapeutic recreation/recreation therapy curriculum. Prior to his academic career, Dean practiced professionally with children and youth with behavior, orthopedic or intellectual disabilities. His interest in helping prepare students for human services careers emerged from these experiences.

Ellen joined the school social work staff at the West Central Illinois Special Education Cooperative in 1992, and in 1997, she was invited to join the social work faculty at Western as an adjunct instructor. Due to her years of working in school social work, she was able to share her skills with young children who had social, learning or other difficulties; their parents and teachers; as well as students pursuing careers in social work.

"With this scholarship, we wish to extend our professional interests in helping disenfranchised children and youth," Dean said. "Supporting an academically talented undergraduate student who is passionate about helping children and youth who have disabling conditions ensures that such children and youth will receive the services needed to develop meaningful and independent lives."

Contributions to the Dean and Ellen Zoerink Scholarship are welcome and appreciated. Gifts can be made online at or mailed to the WIU Foundation, 1 University Circle, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455.

Posted By: Julie Murphy, WIU Foundation (
Office of University Relations