Planting the Seeds

Written by: 
Teresa Love

Peggy Rouh ('95 M.S., '01 Ph.D.) (Photo by Michael Clements)Peggy Rouh ('95 M.S., '01 Ph.D.) had been working for IBM for 17 years when she decided to pursue a master's degree in instructional design from UNT.

"I immediately put what I was learning to use at work and was able to expand our consulting services," says Rouh.

But what started as part-time classwork turned into a 26-year relationship with UNT. As she was nearing the end of her master's program, her professor and advisor, Jerry Wircenski, encouraged her to complete her Ph.D. She eventually pursued her doctoral degree in applied technology, training and development.

Rouh met Jerry's wife, Professor Michelle 'Mickey' Wircenski, when she became the chair of Rouh's Ph.D. committee. Her student-professor relationship with the Wircenskis grew into a mentorship and blossomed into
a friendship.

Years later, after Rouh retired from IBM, Jerry Wircenski reached out to her to return to UNT -- this time as a professor to share her real-world experiences with students. Rouh returned to UNT as an adjunct professor teaching online classes in the College of Information. Today, she serves as a lecturer.

"The Wircenskis have been extremely supportive of me through the years," Rouh says. "I wanted to recognize the work they had done to help me and other UNT students as well as grow the department. I wanted them to have a permanent legacy."

In 2012, Rouh and her husband, Charles, established and endowed the Drs. Jerry and Michelle Wircenski Scholarship. Hoping to increase the amount of the scholarship, Rouh worked with the development officer for the College of Information to contact other former students to request donations.

"It was very humbling and rewarding to know that our name is associated with something that enables students to continue their education and pursue their goals," says Mickey Wircenski.

This scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students in the college, and in addition to the financial support it provides, it plants the seeds of giving with the recipients.

"Mickey and Jerry Wircenski have made impacts on so many people's lives," Rouh says.

Rouh also served as a volunteer leader for the Campaign for UNT in 2013, which raised more than $210 million to support scholarships, student programs, faculty positions, research and facilities.

"It is important to look at the institutions that have helped you along the way," she says, "and to make sure they can continue to help others in the future."