STEVENS POINT — As the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point prepared to mark the 2019 Day of Giving, first-year student and history major Aubrey Berning of New Richmond talked about her gratitude for the university.

“The first time I stepped on campus, it felt like home,” she said. “Point was the only college I applied for because I loved it so much. It has such a beautiful campus and an engaging and helpful community of faculty and peers.”

Chosen as one of the first Berard Scholars at UW-Stevens Point, Berning has more to be thankful for – the generosity of a Stevens Point couple. On May 7, 10 students were awarded a $2,000 Bob and Mary Berard Gateway to Discovery Scholarship, an annual award for first-year, first generation students with academic promise. It is renewable for a second year for those scholars who maintain good academic standing.

“The Berard Scholarship has been such a blessing in my life,” said Hannah Jackson, an elementary education major from Plover. “I have been able to focus on my scholastic career, and I achieved my goal of a 4.0 GPA my first semester.”

Jackson hopes to use her teaching degree to share education where it is most needed, in poverty-stricken areas and undeveloped countries. “I’m so grateful for the gift of education,” she said. “Its impact will not be short lived.”

Currently, 46 percent of UW-Stevens Point’s first-year students are the first in their families to go to college. Among them is Berard Scholar Justin Wisinski, a wildland fire science major from Stevens Point who chose UW-Stevens Point for its natural resource program, close to home.

“The Berard Scholarship is helping me gain first-hand experience in my field,” he said. “I’ve been able to join the UWSP Fire Crew and found something I enjoy doing every day.”

The Berards are continuing their generosity through a matching gift for every donation on the 2019 Day of Giving. These funds will continue to support recruitment and retention scholarships.

The Day of Giving offers fun and philanthropy for the Pointer community through creative fundraising activities such as selfies, social media posts, service and matching challenges. To learn more about participating, go to

Published with permission from UWSP. Photo courtesy UWSP. Hannah Jackson, an elementary education major at UW-Stevens Point, is one of 10 first-year, first-generation students to be awarded the Bob and Mary Berard Gateway to Discovery Scholarship.