When Fred Van Bebber received the first annual Journal-World scholarship, Harry Truman was president, Lawrence had about 23,000 people and the local high school still was called Liberty Memorial.
That was in 1950, making 1991 the 42nd year that the Journal-World has awarded the scholarship to a former Journal-World carrier with plans to attend Kansas University. The scholarships go to graduating high school seniors, and the scholarship amounts are determined in part by the number of years they carried the newspaper.
Van Bebber and other former J-W scholarship recipients recently talked about their days as carriers and what they are doing today.
Van Bebber graduated from KU in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in business. After serving in the U.S. Air Force for three years, he went into the brokerage business in the Kansas City area. Ten years later he moved to Wichita, where his firm merged with Paine-Webber in 1967.
TODAY, HE is a vice president at Paine-Webber.
"Being a Journal-World carrier was a great experience for a young man to have," Van Bebber said. "You develop a lot of qualities that help you later in life discipline, being on time, and getting along with people."
Van Bebber, 58, said that when he delivered newspapers as a student at Cordley School, he sometimes would be called out of class to deliver "extra" J-W editions announcing major events in World War II.
Unlike the Persian Gulf war, in which minute-by-minute updates were made possible via television, World War II developments were announced through the radio and the newspaper.
So when Van Bebber and other carriers would hawk the 5-cent "extras" up and down Massachusetts Street, "We felt like we were pretty big stuff," he said.
Van Bebber's J-W scholarship was for $101 a flat sum of $75 and an additional $2 for each month he served as a carrier. Van Bebber said $100 went a lot further toward KU tuition than it would today.
A MORE RECENT J-W scholar is David Kieffer, who was the 1981 recipient and who graduated from KU in 1985 with a degree in chemical engineering. Two years later, he received a second degree from KU in mechanical engineering.
Like Van Bebber, Kieffer has been successful in his field.
He started out working in Lenexa at Smith & Loveless Inc., where he worked in developing equipment for water and waste water management. He then worked as a project engineer for the Kansas City-based Milbank Systems Inc., which manufactures industrial washers and ovens. In one multimillion dollar project, Kieffer helped develop a system for painting Magic Chef washers and dryers.
In April, Kieffer became a process engineer for Grindsted Products Inc. south of Olathe. The company develops food additives such as stabilizers and emulsifiers.
Kieffer, 28, lives in Prairie Village, but he comes back to Lawrence occasionally to visit his family. He said that 10 years ago he "never would have guessed" that he would be at the point in his career that he is today.
NOT ALL J-W scholars settled down in Kansas. After living in several states during his 31 years with PPG Industries Inc., Daniel Wiley now lives in Rockville, Md., and works for the U.S. Department of Energy. There, he works with research and development aimed at improving the energy efficiency of industrial processes.
Wiley, 57, was the 1952 J-W scholar, and he earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from KU in 1957. Wiley, who said he still likes the smell of newsprint, said he enjoyed the contact with KU faculty that he had along his paper route.
"It gave one a much broader view of life than one usually would get in a small town like Lawrence. I think it stood me in good stead," said Wiley, whose father, Russell Wiley, is professor emeritus of fine arts at KU.
FRED WILEY received the J-W scholarship three years after his brother Daniel did. John and Tim Sommerville represent another case in which two brothers received J-W scholarships. John received his in 1956, and Tim was named a J-W scholar in 1962.
John Sommerville earned a master's degree in history at KU and today is a professor of history at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Now 52, John Sommerville said he still thinks a lot about the newspaper business.
"I've always been interested in the history of newspapers," he said, adding that his next research project will be about the early history of newspapers in England.
Tim Sommerville, who could not be reached, received a mathematics degree from KU in 1966 and currently works in Arizona as a computer consultant.
Two other brothers selected as J-W scholars were David and Gerald Stoltenberg, who graduated from LHS in 1957 and 1960, respectively. Both went on to get master's degrees in civil engineering at KU.
Howard Stoltenberg, a Lawrence resident and father of the two, said David Stoltenberg now works for the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago. Gerald Stoltenberg was an engineer for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment until a 1988 Lotto America winning allowed him to "retire early," the elder Stoltenberg said.
"The scholarships were a great help to them during their first year at KU," he said.
LAST YEAR, two seniors, Todd Bredehoft of Lawrence and Theodore Trzos of Eudora, were awarded the J-W scholarship, making this year's recipient, Nathan Goodman, the 43rd since 1950. Here is a list of all 43 J-W scholars:
Fred Van Bebber, Tommy Ryther, Daniel Wiley, Frank Black, Kenneth Janeway, Fred Wiley, John Sommerville, David Stoltenberg, Frank Wiebe, Larry Heeb, Gerald Stoltenberg, Charles Lanning Jr., Tim Sommerville, Richard Luallin, James Gillispie, Jim Flory, Richard Whitley Jr., Robert Winchell, Tom Oberzan, Ed Lanning, William Stogsdill, Douglas Merrill, David May, John Hird, Ryan Stansifer, David Conrad, Matt Haverty, Doug May, Mary Lee Stansifer, Robert Wyttenbach, Tuan Chieu, David Kieffer, Michael Reihm, Amy Kerkman, Susan Taylor, Kristen Bushell, Mark Bushouse, Karen Stansifer, Adam Peck, Thorsten Lundsgaarde, Todd Bredehoft, Theodore Trzos and Nathan Goodman.