The Michael and Jessina Dineen Memorial Scholarship endowment announcement

Trustees of the Michael and Jessina Dineen Memorial Scholarship endowment recently presented an estate gift to UWRF. L to R: Mark Gherty, chair, UW-River Falls Foundation Board of Directors; Janet Burns, president, UW-River Falls Foundation; Don Dukerschein, trustee, Michael and Jessina Dineen estate; Mike Balko, trustee, Michael and Jessina Dineen estate; and Dean Van Galen, chancellor, UW-River Falls.

Students to benefit from generous estate gift 

January 21, 2020 – A Chippewa Falls couple’s passion for the outdoors and education has resulted in an estate gift of $695,000 to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Foundation.

The Michael and Jessina Dineen Memorial Scholarship endowment will provide approximately $25,000 in scholarships each year for UW-River Falls students in the plant and earth science program who are pursuing degrees in conservation and environmental planning, crop and soil science, environmental science, geology or horticulture.  

Michael worked in construction and was an active leader in various conservation organizations including the Chippewa Valley Outdoor Resource Alliance, Pheasants Forever and hunter education programs. He died in a motorcycle accident in 2001. Jessina “Jess” was the long-time band director at Chippewa Falls Middle School. She was also a hunter education instructor and served with the Chippewa Valley Outdoor Resource Alliance. She was inspired to create a scholarship program from their estate following her death in 2015. 

“Jess and Mike would be thrilled to know their love of the outdoors and commitment to education will live on in the lives of UW-River Falls students impacted by the Dineens’ generosity,” said Don Dukerschein, a co-trustee of the Dineen estate. “It’s a fitting legacy to a wonderful couple.”

UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen announced the gift during the university’s Spring Semester Opening Meeting, a gathering of more than 400 faculty and staff. 

“We thank the trustees who have been such outstanding stewards of Mike and Jess’s resources and wishes,” Van Galen said. “For generations, our students will benefit greatly from this remarkable and impactful gift.”

For more information, contact Kimberly Gould-Speckman, director of Advancement Services, at 715-425-4212 or

Contact Us

University Communications
and Marketing
120 North Hall
Phone: 715-425-3771
Fax: 715-425-4486