Matelich Scholarship awarded to students from Minneapolis and Vancouver

September 27, 2018

TACOMA, Wash. – Ginger Wodele of Minneapolis, Minn., and Zachary Herrmann of Vancouver, Wash., are the University of Puget Sound’s two newest Matelich Scholars. The pair were awarded the prestigious scholarship in recognition of their outstanding potential to excel academically and to succeed as inspirational leaders. The award covers tuition, fees, and room and board at the university for up to four years.

The scholarship is funded by a generous gift from George E. Matelich ’78 and Susan E. Matelich, and targets students who have the character and commitment to make a difference, and who demonstrate the motivation to positively impact their communities. Wodele and Herrmann are members of Puget Sound’s Class of 2022 and part of a cohort of Matelich Scholars named since the program began making awards in 2012.

Ginger Wodele (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Wodele sees her life as a world of twos. Her parents divorced when she was young, and both are remarried, so she has lived in two different households for most of her life. She says the two families are kind and loving—and complete opposites.

“It’s been a unique experience to be able see those different dynamics and love both of those families so purely and holistically, but also know all of their differences,” Wodele says. “I think that’s made me more aware of how to define happiness.”

“It’s really given me a broader point of view of how that works in those dynamics,” she adds, “but I also think it’s given me a huge sense of independence.”   

Wodele practiced that independence as a summer camp counselor in northern Minnesota where she led excursions to the Boundary Waters region for middle-school kids. Wodele loves to camp and hike and is looking forward to exploring the Pacific Northwest outdoors as she settles into her new surroundings this fall.

Wodele, an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society in high school, played tennis and badminton and was a member of the Feminism Club. She was a journalism intern for Education First, through which she was selected for a full scholarship to the 2017 Global Leadership Summit in Milan, Italy. Her writing has been published on the Education First blog, Equator, and on Huffington Post.

Zachary Herrmann (Vancouver, Wash.)

Herrmann found purpose in leadership when he got involved with The North American Federation of Temple Youth, a youth movement for reform Jews in the U.S. He joined in eighth grade and eventually became a regional board member and then regional president for the Northwest in his senior year. Herrmann was elected national president last year, which is why he took a gap year before coming to Puget Sound. The experience gave him a chance to lead and have an impact. “Once I was there, I found that coordinating a team to do a project or complete an assignment is a rewarding way to do things,” he says. 

“I’ve realized how passionate I am about issues like gun-violence prevention and positive definitions of consent on college campuses. Working with Temple Youth I realized there was a purpose to my leadership, to empower the leaders of today to take a stand against what is adversely affecting our generation,” Herrmann says.

Herrmann attended an arts magnet school in middle and high school and became passionate about all forms of art. Art has always been integrated into Herrmann’s life and he believes that the skills he learned in giving his work intent came from his time creating films, music, and photos in school.

About the Matelich Scholar Program

The Matelich Scholar Program was established in 2010 through the generosity of George E. Matelich ’78 and Susan E. Matelich, who wish to provide future generations of students with the opportunity to pursue a life-changing Puget Sound education. Both were the first members of their families to graduate from a four-year college. George Matelich is a managing director of Kelso & Company, chair of the American Prairie Reserve, a past member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council, and a trustee emeritus at University of Puget Sound. Susan Matelich serves as a member of the American Prairie Reserve Board of Directors and the New York Botanical Garden Board of Trustees. She is also board treasurer and an emergency medical technician-B and driver for the Town of Mamaroneck/Larchmont Volunteer Ambulance Corps, among other volunteer activities. Two Matelich Scholars are selected each year from the incoming first-year class. 

For information about eligibility for the Matelich Scholar program, contact the Office of Admission at 253.879.3211 or visit


Press photos of University of Puget Sound can be downloaded from

Press photos of Ginger Wodele and Zachary Herrmann are available upon request.