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News Release

May 21, 2024

Couple extends support of business program by creating scholarship

A new Northwest Missouri State University scholarship honors the impact the institution’s business program made on one couple and their family while offering support to future students interested in business.

Starting in the fall, the Hunsicker Family Scholarship will be awarded annually to a Northwest undergraduate student pursuing a major in the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must also be enrolled full-time at Northwest and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Eldon and Janelle Wollenhaupt Hunsicker

Eldon and Janelle Wollenhaupt Hunsicker

Eldon and Janelle Wollenhaupt Hunsicker are pledging gifts totaling more than $25,000 to establish the scholarship. The scholarship award will be no less than $1,000 annually.

“Northwest is incredibly fortunate to have individuals like Eldon and Janelle who have had impactful experiences at the University and want to pay forward that transformational opportunity to current and future students through scholarship support,” Jill Brown, the director of corporate relations and a major gifts officer at Northwest, said. “Their endowed scholarship will help students for generations to come.”

Eldon is a 1970 graduate of Northwest and added a master’s degree in business management with a marketing emphasis in 1974. Janelle completed her bachelor’s degree in 1971. The couple met while taking classes together as they pursued their degrees in business education.

Both began their careers as teachers before transitioning into office environments. Janelle recently retired as the assistant business manager for Ottumwa Community Schools in Iowa.

“It was my business education that gave me a lot of my skills to do that, especially my communication skills with other people,” she said.

Eldon taught for nine years at Truman High School in Independence, Missouri, and then “made the decision that maybe I should practice what I teach,” he said. He recently retired after 45 years in the insurance industry as a partner with NOEL Insurance, which has offices in Ottumwa, Eddyville and Osceola in Iowa. He also was an adjunct instructor at Buena Vista University in Iowa for 35 years.

Additionally, the Hunsickers were deeply involved in the Ottumwa region, each serving in multiple leadership roles in their community. Eldon served on the state board of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa for 13 years and on the national board of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America for three years.

Coming from Hatfield, Missouri, Eldon had several family members who attended Northwest before him. Conversely, Janelle had never heard of Northwest while growing up in Massena, Iowa, and came to the University as a first-generation student. But both were inspired to pursue business education degrees by high school teachers they hoped to emulate.

“I would hope in the years that I did teach high school, that I did as good a job as she did,” Eldon said of his high school business instructor, Martha Faye Woollums, a 1948 Northwest alumna.

While they were Northwest students, Eldon hosted a Sunday night radio program on KDLX and performed with Northwest’s Madrigal choir. Janelle enjoyed working in the admissions office. Both were members of the Pi Omega Pi business education honor society.

They also benefited from the lessons taught by Northwest faculty, including Martha Moss, Jerry Harris and Sharon Browning.

“The strong educational background that we got at Northwest was really fundamental – at least for me, with all that I did and the various offices that I held and the insurance operations later on, at the state level, at the national level,” Eldon said. “I think the strength of the programs at Northwest made us feel that we were much better prepared for the business world than many of the other graduates from other universities were, and that just gave us a leg up.”

The Hunsickers have stayed connected to Northwest and its programs – from attending Bearcat athletics games to participating in alumni activities – and believe now is the time to further invest in the University through the creation of their scholarship.

“It just seems important that we do our part now to assist other students as they come through those programs, especially in business because it’s been so good to us,” Eldon said. “We hope that this will be a little bit of something that will help others as they come through the program so that we send more good business graduates out into the world.”

For more information about the Hunsicker Family Scholarship or to make a tax-deductible gift to benefit the University, contact Northwest’s Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or visit


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215