The Wayne and Barb Opheim Family Scholarship was created on behalf of the involvement of two generations of the Opheim family with NIACC. Wayne Opheim taught accounting at NIACC from 1966 through 1988, and his four children, Gena, Doug, Teresa, and Joan all graduated from NIACC.
“We want to demonstrate our continued belief in the value of education,” said Doug Opheim, Wayne and Barb’s oldest son and creator of the scholarship. The scholarship is designated for a Mason City High School graduate who is active in sports or music.
Wayne received a college education as part of the GI Bill. He knew first-hand the challenges of financing an education. Wayne was a member of a family of 12 and he served in the Air Force prior to earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State Teaches College, now University of Northern Iowa. Wayne coached and taught at Thornton High School and Mankato State University prior to joining the NIACC faculty.
Barb also knew about the challenges of earning a college degree, as she earned hers while caring for four young children. Barb received a bachelor’s degree from Mankato State University and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. Barb taught for 30 years at Mason City High School.
Wayne and Barb filled their home with love for education, sports and music. Gena is a math teacher and pianist and she passed her musical talent to her children. Doug, Senior Vice President of Fianance and Information at McGladrey & Pullen, was active in high school sports and played baseball of NIACC. Teresa, Communications Director for the Iowa Environmental Council, was involved with the NIACC Singers and orchestra. Joan, a homemaker and computer instructor, was a talented track star who advanced to the state tournament during her senior year in high school.
Today, 11 Opheim grandchildren are active in various sports and are filling their homes with music as their parents did.
“NIACC has served our family so well,” Doug said. “My father taught at NIACC for 22 years and my sisters and I received a solid start to our education there. We hope the Opheim Family Scholarship will help other students take advantage of all NIACC has to offer.”