Longtime University Friends Show Support of Education
“Ask Mary Ann Shallberg” is one of the most common responses to those with questions about University of Houston-Clear Lake. That’s because Shallberg, who has been executive associate to the president in the university’s Office of the President for more than 30 years, will more than likely know the answer. Her love for the university and her husband Bill’s passion for education led them to leave a legacy to UH-Clear Lake – a legacy that will result in a scholarship and will allow future students to seek their own answers to questions about life.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes at the university,” says Mary Ann fondly, who has seen the university grow from a UH System satellite campus to an independent university. She has also seen enrollment grow from 1,069 to more than 8,000, not to mention watching as the alumni number grew to more than 54,000. Bill has certainly been a part of it all, having attended multiple UH-Clear Lake festivities through the years that have included university anniversaries, alumni celebrations, groundbreakings and much more.
While attending and participating in university activities, they have met struggling students and know that funding and supporting students through the legacy of an endowed scholarship can make a difference. Both Shallbergs understand financial struggles because they have survived such struggles themselves.
“My father didn’t attend college until he was in his 20s,” explains Mary Ann. “He was one of six children and when his father died, five of the six were sent to an orphanage. Fortunately, when his mother remarried, his new dad brought them all back together.”
She says that her father finished high school, he began working and, in his 20s, was encouraged by a family friend to continue his education..
“Someone at church encouraged him to go to college and helped him see how he could do it,” adds Mary Ann. “He worked the whole time he was in college at the power plant on campus, but still graduated near the top of his class.”
Her father continued that relationship with the college long after he was finished taking classes serving on the Board of Trustees for his alma mater. From this educational experience, Mary Ann recalls the advice that her father instilled in both she and her sister; advice that definitely came from his own experiences: “If you can help someone get an education, DO IT.”
Bill’s educational history reflects tough times also with his father’s education interrupted by World War I. His father also instilled the importance of education in him so that was the route he took. He worked in a variety of jobs on campus and on construction crews earning enough to complete his undergraduate degree before being drafted and serving in the Korean War as a combat officer. That didn’t stop his education though, it just extended it. Through the G.I. Bill, he was able to earn his graduate degree.
“Typically, students at UHCL have a lot on their plate with work, family and school, but we’re hoping we can help someone in the future not have to work as much and concentrate more on school,” says Bill. “Scholarships can make the difference; they can allow someone to attend school and not have to worry about working to pay the bill.”
When not involved with university activities the two participate in many outdoor, volunteer and cultural activities. Bay Area Turning Point and Lunar Rendezvous activities have kept Mary Ann active in the community. A runner at one time, Mary Ann keeps the pace in many area charity walks while Bill focuses on golf. Both especially enjoy birding, boating and fly-fishing.
And while Mary Ann may be known as the person who can provide the answers about the history of UH-Clear Lake, she and Bill, through their legacy, will answer the needs of future UH-Clear Lake students.
For more information about how to leave a legacy to UH-Clear Lake, call UH-Clear Lake’s Office of Development, 281-283-2021, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.