Viles Foundation News
New and Renewal applicants: The deadline for applications for the 2024-2025 school year is April 1, 2024. Applications must be postmarked by that date. ~Board of Directors
The Board of Directors has announced that 45 scholarships were awarded in May, 2023. These scholarships totaled $95,600.00.
~Viles Foundation, Inc.
New Mexico Highlands University selected Matie Viles and Ken and Sue Crimmins to co-name the new Student Residence hall on their campus. It is known as the "Matie Viles and Ken and Sue Crimmin Student Residence Hall". ~Viles Foundation, Inc.
ELEANOR S. WALD
If asked for a word to describe the work, passion and goals of Eleanor S. Wald, that word would be EDUCATION. If asked to be specific, Eleanor would say “education of women.” That goal came from two sources. The first was from her grandmother, Ellen Clayton, who educated women in western Kansas in the 1880’s. Ellen was a high school teacher and founder of the Carnegie Library in Wellington, Kansas in the late 1890’s. The second source began in 1950 when Eleanor became acquainted with Matie R. Viles. Their eleven year association paved the path to educate young women through the formation of the Viles Foundation, Inc.
Eleanor was born in 1916 in Wellington Kansas to Eunice Clayton Slaten and Jesse Meredith Slaten. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1938 with a degree in education. In 1940, Eleanor married Elmer Wald of Herington, Kansas. They had one daughter, Merideth.
In 1942, Elmer and Eleanor moved to Belen, New Mexico where Elmer worked for the Santa Fe Railroad as a train dispatcher during World War II. He was transferred to Las Vegas, New Mexico after the war. It was during this time that Eleanor became the secretary to W. Morris Shillinglaw, Jr., a prominent Las Vegas attorney. While working for Morris, Matie R. Viles came to him when her husband George A. Viles passed away in 1950.
Matie did not understand her financial situation, but trusted Morris and Eleanor. She relied on Eleanor to explain Morris’s “legal” terms to her. Having a degree in elementary education, Eleanor could easily relate information to Matie. Their friendship extended into the care of Matie’s health and well being. Eleanor began to notice that Matie was spending her “pocket money” to help two young orphaned girls in Pecos. Matie made certain that the girls had shoes for school, went to the doctor if they were ill and provided money for the small things that children need.
It was this observation that led Eleanor to discuss with Morris and Matie the possibility of Matie including orphans in her financial planning. After several years of research, the concept of directly granting money came to fruition in the Viles Foundation, Inc. Matie asked Eleanor and Morris to be founding members of her Board of Directors. Matie and Morris both died within five years of the granting of the first scholarships. It then fell upon Eleanor to guide the Board of Directors to make certain that Matie’s wishes were carried out. Fifty-three years later, Eleanor can say with great certainty that Matie would be very proud that as the result of her kindness, the foundation has achieved her greatest expectations.
In 1953, the Wald family moved to Albuquerque. Elmer worked for an insurance company and Eleanor began teaching sixth grade at Lew Wallace Elementary School, and later Apache Elementary School. They were very active in church and Masonic organizations. Elmer played the bass horn in the Shrine Band, Merideth was a Jobs Daughter and Eleanor joined such educational organizations as Delta Kappa Gamma and Alpha Delta Kappa.
Elmer passed away in 1975. Eleanor retired from teaching in 1977. In the following years, Eleanor became very active in several organizations. She was a volunteer and member of the board of directors of the Lovelace Hospital Auxiliary and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was the first person from the state of New Mexico to hold an international office in Delta Kappa Gamma. In 2009, Eleanor was named one of twenty New Mexico’s Most Distinguished Women.
Eleanor enjoyed world-wide travel beginning with Europe in 1972. Over the next twenty-five years, her international travels included Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Italy, Palestine, Israel, Germany, France, England and Switzerland. She and Elmer also visited Mexico, Hawaii and Canada. Travel in the United States included Washington D.C. for the Daughter of the American Revolution, the New England States from Maine down the Erie Canal to New York; across Texas to Louisiana and Florida; California to visits friends and relatives; San Francisco and Denver for the Lovelace Auxiliary; Chicago, Austin and Salt Lake City for Delta Kappa Gamma and the Northwest States for pleasure.
At the Fiftieth Anniversary Luncheon for the Viles Foundation, Eleanor was honored with a standing ovation. Her response was very typical of Eleanor: “I just did what needed to be done!”
In 2012, Eleanor, at age 96, resigned from the Board. The Board created the Emeritus Board in her honor. Oneida L`Esperance reminded the Board of a time when Eleanor was asked to give advice to young people. Eleanor said "Just go do it". Strong words to live by!!