Deon Nontelle

Deon Nontelle

Deon Nontelle grew up in La Crosse and graduated from Central High School before receiving her B.S and her M.S. in Biology at UW-L. Her Master’s thesis, Flora of La Crosse County, served as a record of vascular plants for future studies. Mounted specimens are in the herbaria of UW-L and University of Wisconsin – Madison. As a graduate student in 1970, she was asked to teach in the Biology department and this led to over 33 years of teaching, coordinating general biology labs, and directing the activities of the greenhouse that held 1100 plants and 100 different species. She never missed a single day of classes over her entire career even during the time she was treated for a brain tumor. Her enthusiasm for the subject and the caring for her students resulted in top student evaluations in the department annually.

Deon also received several awards over her career. She was nominated eight times for the “Most Accessible Instructor” award from SAPA (Students Advocating Potential Ability). Then in 2000, she received a special lifetime achievement award for “outstanding ongoing dedication, accommodating and supporting students with disabilities throughout her career” at UW-L. Deon also was given an award from the YWCA’s Tribute to Outstanding Women in the Community. She was the first-ever recipient in the category of Arts and Sciences. Other recognitions included being cited as an outstanding club advisor for the UW-L Biology Club and being Coate Hall’s favorite faculty member. She received the UW-L Academic Staff Excellence Award in 2003 and then received the prestigious statewide honor in 2004, the “Regents Academic Staff Award for Excellence.” She was only the second person from UW-L to receive this recognition.

It is because of her love for teaching and especially her love of plants that this scholarship was created. Deon wishes the recipient of this scholarship will be inspired to continue this love.


The Deon M. Nontelle Scholarship will be funded with an estate gift. At that time, the scholarship will support sophomore and junior Biology majors with a preference given to students pursuing studies in plant biology.