College of Education & Human Services

Educator Preparation


Robert Lang Blakslee was born the first son, and fourth of five children, to Kathryn Lang Blakslee and Edward Blakslee on October 23, 1954. Following a seizure at the age of two, it was discovered by Mayo Clinic that Bob had epilepsy as well as mental retardation, which, upon autopsy, was found upon his death at age 16 to be, “…a congenital abnormality of the microscopic anatomy of the brain, with abnormal collections of nerve cells in areas not normally possessed of them.”

As was common in the time period of Bob's life, there were no options for public education of mentally retarded children. Bobbo, as he was affectionately known by his family, spent time in private schools and residential treatment settings. He never progressed educationally more than learning a few words, mainly names of family members. In between his frequent headaches and seizures, Bobbo was a very happy boy. He is remembered today through pictures of a child who always wore a smile, was loving, and was inquisitive of the world around him.

Bob was taken prematurely from our family at the age of 16. However, the effect that he had on the entire Blakslee family will never be forgotten. Together we share the belief that all of God's children are a blessing. We believe in volunteering our time and money to help others less fortunate. One example directly related to this belief was that Bob's sister Jeri, who retired after 39 years of service, chose a career in Special Education after receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Western Illinois University. Furthermore, it is in honor of our son and brother, Robert Lang Blakslee, that our family provides this scholarship. We thank you, the scholar, for helping to keep Bob’s memory alive, and we wish you the greatest success in your schooling and future career path.

This information was submitted by the members of the Blakslee family – Kathryn Lang Blakslee, mother; Betty Blakslee Reynolds, sister; Sally Blakslee Schindel, sister; Marjorie (Jeri) Blakslee McGuire, sister; and William Edward Blakslee, brother. Four members of the Blakslee family are graduates of Western Illinois University. They are Sally Blakslee Schindel (1972), Marjorie Blakslee McGuire (1975), Joshua John McGuire (2000), and


  • Be declared a special education major (intending to qualify for licensure as Learning Behavior Specialist I)
  • Accepted into the Teacher Education program (TEP)
  • Preference given to a student whose emphasis or concentration is in the area of intellectual disabilities

TERMS: Award amount varies based on annual interest earned on endowment.

Recipient will be selected by the Office of Teacher Education Scholarship Committee.

Scholarship Committee
Office of Teacher Education
Horrabin Hall 40
Western Illinois University
1 University Drive
Macomb, IL 61455
309 298-2117


RENEWABLE?  Yes. Must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in education courses and overall cumulative GPA of at least 2.75.