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A Tribute to Merlin W. Schultz

Merlin W. Schultz, 96, passed away on February 20, 2012.    A native of Michigan, Schultz received his B.S. Degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1937 and earned two advanced degrees from the University of Michigan in 1962 and 1966; he was a retired U.S. Navy Commander.  He was an active and exemplary leader in counseling in Illinois.


Prior to coming to Illinois in 1963 Schultz spent nineteen years in counseling, coaching, and teaching assignments at Grosse Pointe and Grosse Ile, Michigan.  Schultz’s last professional position, until his retirement in 1977, was coordinator of pupil personnel services in the Maine Township High School District 207, Park Ridge, Illinois.


In addition to service and leadership in Illinois, Schultz served in various leadership roles in ACA (then AACD), NCDA (then NVGA), and ASCA.  He enjoyed running the Illinois breakfast at ACA (then APGA) for many years and organized charter flights from Chicago to APGA conventions.  In 1970 Schultz was selected as the recipient of the ASCA Administrator of the Year Award for his work with school counseling.


Schultz was president of ICA (then IPGA) in 1970-71.  His conference theme was “Survival:  Personal, Professional, Societal.”  Under his leadership a new division, IVGA (now ICDA), was formed and the administrative coordinator position was established.  In 1983-84 he served as IVGA president.  He was president of the Chicago Personnel and Guidance Association, the Directors of Pupil Services of Suburban Chicago, and the Rosemont School Board. 


In 1978 Schultz received ICA’s most prestigious award, the C. A. Michelman Award, in recognition of his outstanding service to ICA and professional counseling.  He was a great ambassador for counseling in Illinois throughout his life.  He was respected for precision in his work, bringing stability to organizations, modeling professional involvement, and sprinkling humor and fun wherever he went.


The Illinois Counseling Association Foundation received its tax-exempt status in 2005.  Schultz was very supportive of establishing the Foundation, and he requested to be its first contributor.  He is the Foundation's most generous benefactor, giving over $70,000 at the time.  Schultz also made a tax-deferred gift to the AACD Foundation of $58,000 in 1984, because there was not a Foundation at that time.  Upon his demise the remainder of those funds (approximately $34,000) was designated to be forwarded to the Foundation (2011).  In 2017, the Foundation began conducting business as the Schultz Foundation for Advancing Counseling, honoring his legacy and with a goal of continued growth. 


In addition to his generous financial contributions, Schultz also mentored the Foundation's Board of Directors, helping to shape the Foundation.  He provided investment advice, suggested how a foundation could promote counseling and maintain financial viability, and recommended types of projects to support.  The Merlin W. Schultz Professional Development Grant was named in his honor.  Since 2007 the Foundation has awarded over $320,000 for research, professional development, social emphasis project.  


Schultz served as a lecturer in counselor education at Michigan State University, Central Washington State University, Drake University, and Northeastern Illinois University.  During World War II he held administrative assignments in naval officer training programs at Monmouth College (IL), Bethany College (West VA), The Rice Institute (TX), and Baylor University (TX).  In 1969 he was chosen as one of twenty educators for the Illinois Resident Program for Educational Leadership. 


Schultz contributed numerous articles to national and state professional counseling journals.  His leadership was recognized by his appointment to a three-year term of the American College Testing Program and a similar term for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation Board of Directors.  In 1975 he was named a Fellow in the Kettering Foundation Institute.


The Foundation Board of Directors and ICA deeply appreciate Schultz’s legacy of generosity and forward thinking for the future of counseling in Illinois.  For those of us who have had the privilege of working with Schultz over the years, he was a major source of inspiration, leadership training, support, and encouragement.  He loved people, counseling, tennis, Kiwanis, his church, and giving back to his profession - which he did in his Will leaving a gift of over one million dollars to the Foundation. 

Merlin often closed his correspondence with the word and charge; "ONWARD"   
Make a gift today in gratitude of his forward thinking about the counseling profession.

Tribute by: Dr. Melanie E. Rawlins

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