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Sheila J. Klages '53

Sheila Janssen KlagesSheila Janssen Klages is the daughter of Allen S. Janssen, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Idaho from 1946 to 1967.

Sheila received her B.A. degree in journalism summa cum laude from the University of Idaho in 1953. While at Idaho, Sheila was editor of the 1953 yearbook, Gem of the Mountains, was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation's oldest scholastic honorary, Mortar Board, the National College Senior Honor Society and served as president of the University of Idaho chapter of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

During the summer months of high school and college in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Sheila worked at the Shore Lodge in McCall, Idaho. Sheila has many memories of World War II when Allen Janssen was in the United States Navy Seabees stationed in the South Pacific.

Sheila married Karl W. Klages, UI ’52, in 1953. They have two sons, both graduates of Washington State University, and two granddaughters who are students at the University of Nevada in Reno.

While Karl was in the Air Force at San Antonio, Texas, Sheila was an editorial assistant at the Texas Livestock Journal magazine for two years. Sheila then chose to stay at home during Karl’s years as Sports Information Director and sports play-by-play announcer for Utah State University and then Purdue University.

During those 20 years, she was a homemaker and a volunteer for many organizations, and also did freelance editing and writing. The Klages family moved Spokane, Washington in 1970 when Karl entered private business.

Sheila went back into the workforce in the mid-1970s at age 45 when she became Head Personnel Interviewer and later Interim Personnel Director of the three Crescent Department Stores in Spokane.

In 1978, Sheila joined Cowles Co. (publishers of the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane) in its subsidiary, Northwest Farmer-Stockman Magazines (Idaho-Oregon-Washington-Montana-Utah-Arizona individual tabloid-sized publications). She was office manager of the advertising department until her retirement in 1993 after 15 years of employment at Cowles Co. where she took part in the many changes occurring in publishing during that time.

Sheila earned an M.S. degree in communications from Eastern Washington University in 1990 while working full time at Cowles.

Sheila served on the College of Engineering Centennial Committee in 2007 and recently hosted a State of The College Reception in Spokane. In addition to several University of Idaho engineering special projects, Sheila supports the Allen S. Janssen Engineering Scholarship Endowment which was established in 1972 by faculty, friends, business associates and family of Allen Janssen. Over years, many engineering students have benefited from this scholarship.

In addition, Sheila and Karl are Vandal Scholarship Fund participants. Sheila and Karl are wonderful friends to the University and have truly made a significant difference to the College of Engineering.

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