CARBONDALE, Ill. — Sociology doctoral students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will benefit from a $25,000 gift to the SIU Foundation from J. Mark Wehrle, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Central Missouri.
The gift will endow the J. Mark Wehrle Dissertation Scholarship in Sociology and will be used to annually support dissertation research related to social and/or economic injustice. Wehrle has established a similar scholarship for undergraduate sociology and social work majors attending the University of Central Missouri.
Wehrle, a resident of Lake Ozark, Mo., received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 and a Master of Arts degree in 1972, both from UCM. He earned a doctoral degree in sociology from SIU Carbondale in 1982. He joined the UCM faculty in 1972 and served as chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Work from 1982 to 2002, retiring as professor of sociology in 2003.
He has maintained memberships in more than a dozen professional organizations and academic honor societies. He served as a board member and later as president of the Missouri State Sociological Association (1987-88). As the owner or partner in several Kansas City and Warrensburg, Mo., businesses, he was appointed by the governor to the Missouri Private Industry Council (1985-95), a bi-partisan effort to train and return displaced workers to full employment.
Wehrle was a consultant to sociology textbook publishers and served as a liaison between the Missouri Division of Family Services and the UCM Social Work Program. He also served on three occasions as a federal grant application review panelist for grants that funded nearly $45 million in pilot projects related to literacy and the workplace.
Wehrle, a life member of the SIU Alumni Association, said that he benefited from relationships with former classmates and faculty members and that he encourages others to extend a helping hand to deserving students as others may have done for them. The first scholarship will be awarded in the 2018 fall semester.
William Danaher, professor and chair of SIU Carbondale’s Department of Sociology, said the scholarship creates a wonderful opportunity for graduate students.
“Students will benefit greatly from the Wehrle Dissertation Scholarship because it comes at just the right time in their studies to have an impact on their timely progress in finishing their dissertation,” Danaher said.