March 1, 2016  |  News, Stories

Warner Thomasson photosThe Community Foundation of Boone County is pleased to announce the establishment of the Oliver L. Warner Educational Scholarship Fund.  It was established by Jeff H. Thomasson and will award approximately $8,000 per year in perpetuity, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Thomasson and his desire to honor long-time Zionsville educator, friend and mentor, Oliver Warner.   This generous gift makes it one of the largest scholarship funds managed by the Community Foundation of Boone County.

The community of Zionsville has had a number of significant educational leaders over the years, but high among the list is Oliver L. Warner. After serving under General George S. Patton, 313th Field Artillery Battalion, during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, Mr. Warner returned to his home state of Indiana and graduated from Purdue University on February 2, 1947. On February 3rd, he began teaching at Zionsville High School. Mr. Warner served in the Zionsville school system for almost 41 years, as teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, encouraging countless students to reach their potential. Mr. Warner passed away in November but because of this new educational fund, Mr. Warner’s legacy will continue to serve the students of Zionsville for generations to come.

Jeff H. Thomasson, who established the Warner Scholarship summarized why he wanted to honor his mentor:

“Oliver served as my high school principal and despite his role as a firm disciplinarian, he always had a smile for me and regularly approached our relationship as if we were peers. He encouraged me and so many others in the school system, meant what he said, and executed with precision. Oliver encouraged me to run for senior class president during my graduation year and I only did so because of his belief in me. He ran a well-oiled machine in his different positions at the school system. His attention to detail no doubt came from his strong work ethic and his military service where he knew that success did not occur without hard work. He instilled these same truths in all of his students and particularly me. The confidence he had in me and the many traits I observed in him made the biggest impact in my life and ultimately led me to become an entrepreneur and found my wealth management organization.”

While Jeff Thomasson ‎founded and largely funded this scholarship, when the Warner family heard about Jeff’s desire to honor their husband and father in this way, they too joined in to make a generous gift as a family and contribute to his legacy. Mrs. Berniece Warner, Oliver’s high school sweetheart and wife of over 70 years shared, “We are filled with humility and pride for this honor and tribute to my husband and our children’s father. Oliver spent his entire forty year career in the same school district and this is not a common happening. He mentored and inspired so many students here in Zionsville, like Jeff, and we are so proud.” Al Warner, the eldest of the Warner’s five children added, “We know that Zionsville Community Schools has a tradition of exceptional education to which Dad’s service contributed greatly,”

The Zionsville school system was fortunate to have a dedicated educator for so many years and the Community Foundation of Boone County is equally grateful to Jeff Thomasson for his continued support of education at his high school alma mater.

“I just want to help graduates who choose to go into the field of education know that they are following in the steps of a great man that cared so much for so many.” –Jeff H. Thomasson