Three of 75 inductees into a Leadership Hall of Fame for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America 75th anniversary are University of Wisconsin-Stout alumni.
Carolyn Barnhart, Elvira Schmidt and Elaine Staaland are also the only Wisconsin inductees honored by the organization.Since 1945, FCCLA has been committed to helping cultivate youth to become leaders within their families, careers and communities across America through family and consumer sciences education.
To help celebrate the 75th anniversary, 75 FCCLA members were inducted into the Leadership Hall of Fame. Honorees were chosen by the National Selection Committee in recognition of their contributions to their communities, achievement within their chosen profession and continuous support of FCCLA.
“Induction into FCCLA's Hall of Fame is the highest honor that any member, alumni, adviser, or supporter can receive,” noted Jason Skidmore, national FCCLA board chair in the letter sent to inductees. “FCCLA commends you and would like to honor you for your continued hard work and service invested into the organization. You have not only added value to the organization through your valuable inputs but have also touched the lives of the many individuals you have come in contact with. FCCLA greatly appreciates your efforts throughout the years in supporting the development of FCCLA and Family and Consumer Sciences education.”
Barnhart, of Menomonie, worked at UW-Stout for 36 years. She retired in 2011 as chair of the food and nutrition department. She earned her undergraduate degree in home economics education from UW-Stout in 1974.
She is a board member of the Wisconsin FCCLA Foundation Inc., a member of the Menomonie Family Consumer Sciences Advisory Committee and one of the advisers for the Tau chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron. In high school, she was a national FCCLA national committee member and state president.
Barnhart this year earned the 2020 Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. In 2018 she received the Lorraine Missling Award for Distinguished Service in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Delta Kappa Gamma is for key women educators. Barnhart was a past chapter president. UW-Stout has also started the Dr. Carolyn Barnhart Student Travelship to be awarded to students enrolled in programs in and related to family and consumer sciences education.
She said the award was a personal honor and with three inductees recognizes UW-Stout. “I think it speaks highly of UW-Stout and our educational process, providing respect and giving back and leaving a legacy for the next generation,” said Barnhart, who is married with four children and seven grandchildren.
Schmidt, of Frederic, graduated from UW-Stout in 1962 with a degree in home economics education. Now retired, she taught for 32½ years; 29 of those years were at Frederic High School as a family and consumer sciences teacher and FCCLA adviser. She encouraged many of her students to attend UW-Stout.
Schmidt first became interested in becoming a family and consumer sciences teacher when her high school home economics teacher, Winifred Einum, drove Schmidt, then Elvira Ulick, and her mother to visit the campus. “She encouraged me to go to Stout,” Schmidt said of Einum. “She was an alumna of UW-Stout. I received a wonderful and excellent education from Stout that prepared me for teaching.”
Schmidt, who has two grown children, Heather Schmidt Ohly, of Seattle, and Dolf Schmidt, an elementary school principal in the Hudson School District, said she is humbled to have been inducted into the Leadership Hall of Fame with Barnhart and Staaland.
Staaland, of Madison, graduated from UW-Stout in 1961 with a home economics teacher education degree. She retired from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as an educational consultant for family and consumer sciences education in 1998. She was the state adviser to the FCCLA for many years.
“I think it is wonderful the three of us were nominated for this particular award,” Staaland said. “It just makes it more special. It is neat that UW-Stout has three representatives. UW-Stout has a special place in Wisconsin, especially with the home economic teachers and with the general public. Stout has a very good reputation.”
The first time Staaland, who grew up in southern Wisconsin about six miles from the Illinois border, saw the UW-Stout campus was when she drove up in the fall of 1957 to start classes. “It was wonderful,” she said. “It built a great foundation for me as I went on with my professional life.”
Because of the academic and cultural experiences at UW-Stout, Staaland said, graduates from the university take great pride in the university. “We have pride in being graduates of UW-Stout,” she said. “I think that’s shared by many people who graduate from there. I think that’s significant.”
UW-Stout offers a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences education both on campus and as a hybrid degree. The family and consumer sciences education program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.