Local Trout Unlimited chapter funds MSU scholarship

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Sept. 6, 2012

A 25-year-old scholarship that fosters expertise at MSU in coldwater fisheries and wild trout populations has been made permanent with an endowed scholarship Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited (SWMTU) announced.

The Schrems Scholarship honors Cornelius “Cornie” Schrems, founding member of the SWMTU. His wife, Sis Schrems, established the scholarship in 1987 with a gift to MSU.  The chapter’s fundraising efforts permanently honor the Schrems’ intentions with an endowed fellowship fund.

“Our membership has been so generous. The goal for 2013 is to raise $26,500 for a total of $75,000 for the Schrems Scholarship Fund. It is incredibly important to engage our youth in protecting and preserving Michigan’s coldwater streams,” said Ellie Frey, SWMTU Board Member. “We believe that by supporting current students as they explore their passion through research and analysis of our great waterways, we are in essence protecting our coldwater fisheries for the future.”

The fund, to be known as the Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited Graduate Fellowship, will be used to annually honor MSU students enrolled in graduate programs who are working on coldwater fisheries as part of their thesis or dissertation.

The chapter’s intention in establishing the endowment at MSU, is to allow the university to manage, invest and grow the fund in perpetuity while still supporting the mission of SWMTU.

Individuals and organizations can contribute to the fund by donating directly to University Advancement at MSU. All gifts to Michigan State University are tax deductible, on federal taxes, and may qualify Michigan residents for a Michigan tax credit. The Schrems Fellowship has a fund number of AB6092. 

The fellowship recipient will be a graduate student working on coldwater fisheries who demonstrates excellent academic credentials, evidence of leadership, ability to communicate with the public and the ability to solve problems creatively.

The history of Cornie Schrems and Trout Unlimited goes back to 1959 when TU itself was established inSis Schrems Grayling. One of the original founding members of Trout Unlimited was Cornie. While the original groups focus centered on the Au Sable River, Cornie wanted to take this notion beyond the banks of that fabled river. He felt the same dedication and effort could be applied to his favorite “home waters” of the Pere Marquette and Little Manistee rivers. Cornie joined fellow Grand Rapids fly fisherman such as Blake Forslund, C.R. Evenson and Dick Nelson to create the West Michigan Chapter in 1962.

Cornie and the others gathered more believers in the cause and the chapter prospered and grew larger. Cornie is best remembered for the time and effort he devoted to teaching younger fly fishers about the privileges and responsibilities that go with fly fishing for trout. His financial support, leadership and vision never faltered. He was instrumental in establishing the “Flies Only” section of the Pere Marquette River. Each year, the chapter gives the Cornelius Schrems Award to a person who has contributed to the lore and sport of fly fishing.

In 1994, Sis received the Distinguished Service Award from Trout Unlimited at its National Convention in Bozeman, Mont.


Jeff Edwards, SWMTU President - jedwards27@msn.com / (616) 514-7121

Larry Risbridger, SWMTU Secretary - elrisbridger@charter.net / (616) 690-0692

William Taylortaylorw@msu.edu, (517) 353-3048