UofI fundraiser nets thousands for athletic scholarship

The second annual Vandal Summer Fest fundraiser was held Thursday, June 16 at the beautiful Sunnyside Farms and Events venue located off Highway 95, south of Weiser.
 Guests were treated to an oasis-type atmosphere and a gourmet dinner and dessert, with many taking part in the live and silent auctions.
 Funds benefit the University of Idaho Foundation and are earmarked for athletic scholarships. 
 In its inaugural year, Summer Fest netted $10,000. Organizers raised the bar for 2022, their goal to fund a full scholarship.
 “We don’t have our final numbers yet, because our treasurer is knee deep in the Fiddle Fest, but I am very optimistic that we met our goal of doubling what we did last year,” said Marg Chipman who last year helped found the West Treasure Valley Chapter of the Vandal Scholarship Fund along with other area Vandals.
The list includes Sally Bouvia, Gary and Joya Hill, Timbra Long, Nick and Melissa Reed, Dahlia Stender, Jeff and Layna Hafer, Kathy Skow, Bruce Kerner, Harry Soulen, Ray Laan, Pat Sullivan, Fr. Jerry Funke, Nick and Jennifer Schreiner, Jim and Shannon Reed, Wally Hedrick, and Tommy Moore.
 “It’s so neat to see so many people involved in Vandal athletics,” Chipman said. “They volunteer their time and contribute to the auction. I can’t emphasize enough what a board of directors we have. This would not be possible without all of them.”
 Hedrick lives in Eagle and has made many trips to Weiser in support of Vandal Fest. He donated over $2,000 worth of goods and served as the night’s MC.
 Another UofI graduate and globally ranked auctioneer, Zach Zumstein, lent his services for the live auction.
 University of Idaho Athletic Director, Terry Gawlik, lauded Thursday’s event while expressing optimism for the future of Vandal Athletics.
 “This is one of the best venues I’ve ever attended,” she said, addressing the large crowd of about 200. “But it’s not just the venue, it’s the people; it’s the people that come to this, organize it, spend all the time and energy to help us and Vandal athletics. I commend you. Thanks to Marg and Wally and all those who helped and donated.
 “What I’ve been telling my department is that we are elevating; it’s not just the coaches, it’s not just the athletes, it’s the whole department.”
 Former Weiser School District Superintendent Wil Overgaard said he enjoyed his time at UofI and revealed some interesting history regarding his family’s connections.
 “I had the opportunity to go from high school and play football at the University of Idaho,” he told the Weiser Signal American. “My dad, Wilford (Wil), played there from 1946 to 1949 and played with a guy by the name of Carl Kiilsgaard. I played with his son, Kjel Kiilsgaard, so that was really special to me.”
 Coincidentally, the Overgaard and Kiilsgaard families immigrated to the United States from the same town, Aalborg, Denmark, at the turn of the 20th century. Both settled in Idaho but were not yet acquainted.
 The Kiilsgaard family settled in Sandpoint in northern Idaho while the Overgaards settled in Boise. Wil and Carl both served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Following the war, both men played offensive and defensive tackle at UofI at a time when it was common for college gridsters to play both ways.
 “They played together again in 1951 when both were recalled to the Corps during the Korean conflict,” Overgaard said. “There was a military football league back then.”
 Their sons, Wil and Kjel, played together at the UofI from 1973 to 1976.
 Kjel’s son, Kellen, went on to play at Stanford and Wil’s son, Mikel, played at N.C. State University.
 “I had opportunities to go other places, but that was where I needed to be and where I wanted to be. I had a wonderful experience at the University of Idaho,” Overgaard said. “I got a great education. We played for the Big Sky title my senior year and had a network of friends that I’ll always remember very fondly.”
 Weiser resident Pat Thompson graduated from UofI in 1963, earning a degree in education. She went on to teach elementary school and special education.
 “I did special education for about five years,” she said. “I am the mother of a handicapped child, which is what drew me into it. She went on to get her master’s degree and with straight A’s.”
 Thompson said one of the things she remembers most about UofI is its close community.
 “I felt like I belonged,” said Thompson who was born in Lewiston. “My mother was an alum too, so it was a natural fit. I lived in a dorm that was a co-op and my cousins were in the same dorm. I enjoyed my time at University of Idaho very much; It’s where I met my husband.”
 Thompson, who taught all over the country and Canada, retired from teaching in 2004. She moved from Bullhead City, Ariz. to Weiser in 2007.
 “I couldn’t stand the heat in Arizona another day, so I moved back home,” she said. “Idaho is home and I love Weiser. It’s a great place; the most wonderful place I’ve ever been.”



Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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