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‘Dean of financial aid’ celebrates 50 years of service

May 15, 2008

Wally Douma, legendary “dean of financial aid,” is celebrating 50 years of service to UW–Madison.

Douma began his UW–Madison career on May 15, 1958, as personnel director and a student activities adviser for Memorial Union. But he is best known for his 30-year tenure as director of the Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS) from 1964-94.

When he began as director, just $1 million in gifts, grants, endowments, trusts, scholarships, student loans and work study funds were available to students for financial assistance. By the time he retired, the number ballooned to $115 million, and stands at $284 million today.

Douma retired in 1994 but has continued serving OSFS and the campus by making presentations on money matters to parents at Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR), as well as serving on the selection committee for the Chancellor’s Scholars program.

“The University of Wisconsin–Madison is extremely fortunate to continue to have access to Wally’s many gifts and talents. The parents who hear him at SOAR love him,” says Susan Fischer, current OSFS director. “His name is legend in financial aid circles. Folks around the country cannot believe that he is still working and serving students and families in his own unique Wally-like way. I dread the day that he decides to really retire.”

According to university personnel records, only a handful of current employees have amassed more than 50 years of service to UW–Madison.