GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A 25-year-old scholarship that fosters expertise at Michigan State University in coldwater fisheries and wild trout populations has been made permanent with an endowed scholarship Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited (SWMTU) announced today.
The Schrems Scholarship honors Cornelius “Cornie” Schrems, founding member of the SWMTU. His wife, Sis Schrems, established the scholarship in 1987 with a gift to MSU. The chapter’s fundraising efforts permanently honor the Schrems’ intentions with an endowed fellowship fund.
“Our membership has been so generous. The goal for 2013 is to raise $26,500 for a total of $75,000 for the Schrems Scholarship Fund. It is incredibly important to engage our youth in protecting and preserving Michigan’s coldwater streams,” said Ellie Frey, SWMTU Board Member. “We believe that by supporting current students as they explore their passion through research and analysis of our great waterways, we are in essence protecting our coldwater fisheries for the future.”
The fund, to be known as the Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited Graduate Fellowship, will be used to annually honor MSU students enrolled in graduate programs who are working on coldwater fisheries as part of their thesis or dissertation.
The chapter’s intention in establishing the endowment at MSU, is to allow the University to manage, invest and grow the fund in perpetuity while still supporting the mission of SWMTU.
Individuals and organizations can continue to contribute to the fund by donating directly to the Department of Fish and Wildlife at MSU. All gifts to Michigan State University are tax deductible on federal taxes and may qualify Michigan residents for a Michigan tax credit. The Schrems Fellowship has a fund number of AB6092. Direct giving information will soon be found here: http://www.fw.msu.edu/givingto.htm
The Fellowship recipient will be a graduate student working on coldwater fisheries who demonstrates excellent academic credentials, evidence of leadership, ability to communicate with the public and the ability to solve problems creatively.
A Fellowship selection committee will be established to review the nominations and make recommendations to the dean of the graduate school. A selection committee will be comprised of a member of SWMTU, an MSU faculty member interested in coldwater fisheries, and a designee of the Graduate School.
>> View a list of past winners of the Schrems Scholarship
The history of Cornie Schrems and Trout Unlimited goes back to 1959 when TU itself was established in Grayling, Mich. One of the original founding members of Trout Unlimited was Cornie. While the original groups focus centered on the Au Sable River, Cornie wanted to take this notion beyond the banks of that fabled river. He felt the same dedication and effort could be applied to his favorite “home waters” of the Pere Marquette and Little Manistee rivers. Thus, Cornie joined with fellow Grand Rapids fly fisherman such as Blake Forslund, C.R. Evenson and Dick Nelson to create the West Michigan Chapter in 1962.
Cornie and the others gathered more believers in the cause and the chapter prospered and grew larger. Cornie is best remembered for the time and effort he devoted to teaching younger fly fishers about the privileges and responsibilities that go with fly fishing for trout. His financial support, leadership and vision never faltered. He was instrumental in establishing the “Flies Only” section of the Pere Marquette River. Each year, the chapter gives the Cornelius Schrems Award to a person who has contributed to the lore and sport of fly fishing.
In 1994, Sis received the Distinguished Service Award from Trout Unlimited at its National Convention in Bozeman, Mont..
Our chapter owes a great debt of gratitude to the Schrems. Through 38 years of continuous and steadfast support of Trout Unlimited, Sis and Cornie created a legacy. In 2000, our chapter renamed itself the Schrems West Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited. This was intended to be more than a gesture of appreciation. Our hope is that it will be a constant reminder that we have to work to continue the Schrems’ legacy.