Alumnus Vavrik paying it forward


Julia Stackler

The gift of one MechSE alumnus, Bill Vavrik (BSME ’57), to establish the William and Marie Vavrik MechSE Engineering Visionary Scholarship Fund, will have a direct impact on society because it enables future engineers to fuse their talent and passion with the education and skills they need to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Plus, his gift has been doubled in size and impact—thanks to The Grainger Engineering Foundation Matching Challenge.

“I worked my way through college. All the money came from my own pocket, working part-time jobs and through summer,” Vavrik said. “There were a lot of other students who were getting scholarships, but I didn’t qualify for one. So I thought that was one avenue where I had wished I had support, and I hoped someday I would be able to support a student in a similar financial situation as I had been.”

Vavrik, whose son Steven Vavrik is also an alumnus of MechSE (BSME ’90, MSME ’91), said he owes an incredible debt to the university.

“All I had to do was tell people I was a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Engineering and doors were wide open. This is my way of repaying Illinois.”