Rev. H. O. and Thilda Wennes Egertson Scholarship
The Norwegian name Thilda may sound old-fashioned to some people, but the woman who carried that name was as modern as they come. She was a pastor’s wife and mother of two sons and two daughters, but she didn’t let those roles slow her down. Well past the traditional age of a college student, Thilda earned her baccalaureate degree from UCLA and then went on to earn a master’s degree from Cal State Los Angeles. These steps were all in preparation for what she felt God was calling her to do.
In addition to her duties as a wife and mother, Thilda became a public and parochial school teacher, a librarian for the Los Angeles Unified School District, a World Book salesperson for the benefit of mission stations, a world traveler and volunteer for Lutheran church libraries. However, teaching was near the top of her list of priorities.
Thilda was equally proud of her role as pastor’s wife. She and her husband were among CLC’s Founding Fellows and remained loyal to the college through the years. They shared more than their financial resources; they also shared their human resources—their time and energy and ideas. Their relationship with CLC spanned generations. Their son Paul, who had been Bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, served as a longtime member of the religion faculty and several of the Egertson grandchildren became CLU students and then CLU alumni.
When Thilda was 96, she came to the conclusion that there was one item of unfinished business she had yet to accomplish. She wanted to honor her late husband’s many years of service in the ministry as well as her own love of teaching and learning. Therefore, she took the steps necessary to establish the Rev. H. O. and Thilda Wennes Egertson Scholarship. Because of their many interests and pursuits, it was difficult to identify the best criteria for the selection of recipients. However, her final determination was to choose a student who had had some of the same life experiences as she had and who also planned to teach.
The award criteria for the Rev. H. O. and Thilda Wennes Egertson Scholarship are that the student is an upper-division liberal studies major with strong preference for a student who plans to teach in a parochial school (reflecting one of Thilda’s many roles).
According to her son Paul, Thilda was “the paradigm of the modern woman,” but, he said, she would probably deny it to her last breath.