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Mary Voswinkel Memorial Scholarship

 

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The Mary Voswinkel Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a qualified female student who is pursuing a degree and employed by the campus security/public safety/police department at their college/university. Applicants must meet the same academic and other requirements that are in place for IACLEA’s other two scholarships, the James McGovern Memorial Scholarship and the IACLEA Annual Scholarship.

The scholarship is named in honor of Mary Voswinkel, the longtime Chief of Police at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Voswinkel retired in 1999 and passed away on Oct. 20, 2000. During her 14-year tenure as Chief of Police, Voswinkel implemented innovative programs to serve the Rice University community that are models of professionalism, sensitivity, quality and service.

IACLEA members endowed the scholarship with the proceeds from an annual Silent Auction that was held at the Annual Conference. In 2007, the scholarship fund reached its full endowment goal of $25,000, which will generate sufficient funds to produce a $1000 scholarship award each year. In an article published in the January/February 2000 edition of the Campus Law Enforcement Journal, Voswinkel recalled how she got her start in campus law enforcement. After receiving a teaching certificate from the University of Houston, Voswinkel got a part-time job converting the UH security department into a force with armed officers. She transitioned from that administrative job to become a police officer and then assistant chief before moving to the Rice Police Department in 1978.

“I got hooked on the many facets of campus policing,” she recalled. “It was something different every day. It was very people-oriented and I’ve always enjoyed working with people.”  Voswinkel related her philosophy of campus policing in the Journal article. “Our philosophy has always been that we’re not here to police the students, faculty, or staff,” she said. “We’re here to keep anything from happening that might disrupt the working or studying environment. I see us as a part of the educational process – to teach people how, when they go out in the real world, to prepare themselves, to protect themselves against a criminal element.”

She emphasized crime prevention and instituted innovative community policing programs. One such program was the College Officer program, which involved establishing stations in the college areas so that people would have easy access to an officer. College officers’ responsibilities included not only patrolling the colleges and their parking lots, but integrating themselves into the residential college life. The officers further develop the educational process for students through crime prevention programs and talks and discussions on other issues important to students. Voswinkel implemented an entry-level assessment center to hire officers. She started the process by interviewing every group on campus to ask what they wanted in a campus police officer. The assessment center involved faculty, staff, and students in the hiring process and included a series of police scenarios in which candidates were required to participate. Along with the new hiring procedure, she required a minimum of 40 hours of classroom training for new officers. This included training in dealing with crime victims.  She received high marks from university administrators for the way she handled the 1990 Economic Summit, which brought world leaders to the Rice University campus. Throughout the summit, Voswinkel maintained as her priority the students, faculty and staff who had to be on campus and work despite the high security surrounding the event.

 

The Mary Voswinkel Memorial Scholarship is a one-time award of $1000.00. The Scholarship check will be payable to the recipient's institution.  This assures that the scholarship will be used only for tuition, room, books or other services provided by the institution.  Graduating seniors whose college/university expenses have been fully paid by February 1 of the graduating year cannot use the Mary Voswinkel Memorial Scholarship unless they plan to enter graduate school.  The name of the graduate school, to which the check should be payable, must be noted on the application form.  If the name of the graduate school isn't known at the time of the application, it should be forwarded to Maddie Gosser at as soon as it is known.

The Scholarship check will be mailed to the recipient's Institutional Representative during the summer.  Details of the Scholarship Award will be published in the July/August Campus Law Enforcement Journal and posted on the IACLEA Web site.

Recipient's Institutional Representatives will be notified in May of the scholarship award year.