A longtime volunteer and benefactor of Treehaven who passed away last fall has left over $34,000 in her will to support the facility and its programs.
Dr. Helen R. Godfrey, who served as an administrator and assistant chancellor during her 33-year career at UW-Stevens Point, was a member of the original UW-Stevens Point committee that led the efforts to establish Treehaven back in the 1970s and 1980s. She died on Sept. 19 at age 77 after a long illness.
The gift from the Godfrey Trust will support the Treehaven Endowment Fund, a permanent pool of money that generates spendable interest to support operations and programs at the renowned residential natural resources education and conference facility located between Rhinelander and Tomahawk.
“We are most grateful for this thoughtful and generous gift,” said Corky McReynolds, Treehaven director. “This is especially meaningful because it has come from someone who had already given so much of her time, talent and treasure to Treehaven over the past 30 years.”
According to McReynolds, Godfrey had many connections to Treehaven and, even after her retirement from UWSP in 1999, remained a staunch advocate of its mission to integrate natural resources education, management, research and recreation. She served on an advisory committee when Treehaven opened its doors in 1985 and helped orchestrate many visits for incoming chancellors and other UWSP administrators over the years. “Helen loved education and she loved the outdoors and Wisconsin’s Northwoods,” McReynolds said. “She wanted people to see what a treasure we have here.”
Godfrey helped establish the Friends of Treehaven, a community-based group of volunteers and supporters. When state funding support dwindled in the 1990s, an increased need for outside input and expertise inspired the creation of a formal advisory group. The Treehaven Board of Advisors was formed in 2000 and Godfrey was named the first chair. She remained an active member of that group until her passing.
Among her many campus and community accomplishments, she founded and provided ongoing support for the Helen R. Godfrey University Child Learning and Care Center at UWSP (renamed in her honor in 2002), advocated and volunteered for the Special Olympics (held annually at UWSP), helped end curfews for women in the 1960s, was a charter member of the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin and the YMCA Foundation in Stevens Point. She was also a longtime volunteer and benefactor at Camp Manitowish, and was an active volunteer at Bethany Home, Portage County Business Council/Chamber of Commerce, St. Paul Methodist Church, Portage County Library Foundation, Monteverdi Master Chorale Board, Kiwanis and Zonta International.
A native of Appleton, she earned degrees at UW-Madison and Michigan State University. Prior to working at UWSP, she was assistant dean of women and director of residence halls at Ohio State University.