Green Bay, Wis.—Family and friends of former State Representative and UW-Green Bay alumna Sharon Metz (’84, Communication and the Arts), who passed away on June 19, 2020 have created an endowed scholarship in honor of Metz and her husband, Tom.
The Sharon and Thomas Metz Scholarship will benefit undergraduate students who are majoring in First Nations Studies and demonstrate financial need. It will be renewable for up to two years. Mitch Metz, son of Sharon and Tom, says this scholarship aims to carry on his parents’ fight for recognition and respect for indigenous people.
“We are happy to work through the university to make sure that Mom and Dad have ‘passed the torch’ and are helping shape a new generation of advocates and leaders on tribal issues,” said Mitch Metz.
During her 12 years of service as a legislator from Green Bay, Sharon Metz was instrumental in passing what became the Wisconsin Indian Education Act in 1979. She also laid important groundwork for passage of Act 31 in 1989 and is one of the overlooked heroes in that effort.
Sharon and Tom founded HONOR—Honor Our Neighbors Origins and Rights—in 1990. Their efforts through HONOR organized nationwide support for Native peoples during the height of the treaty rights controversy in Wisconsin. Sharon and Tom rallied strong non-Indian support to stand with the tribes on many issues, including treaty rights, team mascots, religious freedom, gaming, and the protection of burial and sacred sites. Tom worked to make accurate, authentic books and instructional materials available to teachers, students, and community members when such materials were not easily found.
The University is honored, says Chancellor Michael Alexander, to carry on the Metz legacy through this scholarship, which provides critical encouragement and support for students in the First Nations Studies program.
“UW-Green Bay is proud to support students in our First Nations Studies program,” Alexander said. “It is truly a distinctive and important program, and this scholarship support will be an immense help to students interested in the degree.”
The Sharon and Thomas Metz Scholarship will award its first $1,500 scholarship in spring 2021. The endowed fund means the scholarship will support student in the First Nations program in perpetuity.
The community is invited to honor the Metz’s legacy with gifts to the scholarship fund. Gifts may be made online. Checks may be written to the UW-Green Bay Foundation, and mailed to: UW-Green Bay Foundation, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311-7001. Write Sharon and Thomas Metz Scholarship in the memo line of the check. Questions may be directed to University Advancement or 920-465-2074.