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UW CES educator earns state community development honor


The Wyoming Economic Development Association awarded the ninth annual Linda Hewitt Memorial Scholarship for Community Development to Rhonda Shipp, a community development educator with the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service.

Shipp serves Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park, and Washakie counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

WEDA presents a special scholarship each year to recognize an outstanding community development leader in Wyoming. The honor is named after Linda Hewitt, an economic development professional from Lander, past WEDA board president and Wyoming Business Council regional director who died in 1999.

Shipp received a $750 scholarship to further her community economic development skills, according to a story announcing the award in the January edition of WEDA's newsletter, The Toolbox.

WBC Regional Director Leah Bruscino said, "I have had the pleasure of working with Rhonda on various projects over the last eight years and am constantly amazed at the way she builds communities one person at a time."

Shipp said, "Leah knew Linda Hewitt very well and told me about her life both personally and professionally. Linda was a very special person and touched the lives of many people."

Shipp added, "After learning more about Linda and her great enthusiasm for living, it is indeed a special and touching honor to receive this scholarship in her name. Also, I count myself among the luckiest of people to have Leah Bruscino as my colleague and friend who always sees the best in everyone she meets."

The WEDA article stated, "(Shipp's) list of impressive community-oriented accomplishments and her untiring dedication to assist in her community embody the very reason the award was created."

Among her work activities, Shipp was instrumental in starting the Park County Leadership Institute in the mid-1990s. Since then, 159 participants in seven classes have graduated.

Shipp has also facilitated leadership institutes in Big Horn, Hot Springs and Washakie counties. She announced she will retire from UW CES June 1.

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