Unlock a Matching Gift!
Help this scholarship's final goal of $50,000 launch off in a big way! Once this fund reaches the starting goal of $5,000, a special $2,500 match will be unlocked. Stay tuned for future mini-campaigns and Let's Fire Up to support future counselors!
About the Scholarship
To honor her mother, this scholarship is being established by Gwynn Tilmann-Holley with the support of her family. Please help us honor Sharon's legacy by reaching our ultimate goal of $50,000 to establish a Graduate Level Scholarship supporting students pursuing a Master of Arts in Counseling. Depending upon the success of this fundraising, which will run through 2028, this may alternatively establish an Undergraduate Level Scholarship supporting students pursuing a Major in Social Work with a Minor in Substance Use Disorders.
Sharon ’68, ’82, ’96 is a graduate of Central Michigan University, holding a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Counseling and a Master of Public Administration. She also studied Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution at the University of Cambridge in England. Sharon has devoted her life to helping and improving the lives of others through her skills as a counselor, as a mediator, and through her involvement in her community.
Sharon is a previous Director of Catholic Family Services, the Wrap-Around Program Coordinator for Listening Ear, and worked at CMU’s Counseling Center for nine years before retiring in August 2013. She also had a private counseling practice, Associated Counseling Services, in downtown Mt. Pleasant from 1995 until 2018. Through this, she was also a member of the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce.
Sharon has been very active in the local community. She was on the Mt. Pleasant City Commission for many years serving as Mayor in 1998 and again in 2014 and was twice Vice-Mayor. Sharon was elected to the Isabella County Commission in 2001 and served as Vice-Chairperson of the county commission 2003-2004. Sharon has served on the Board of Directors for United Way, Middle Michigan Development Corporation, and the local Economic Development Corporation, and was also a member of the Volunteer Center Board and the former Isabella Child Protection Council. Sharon was on the faculty of the Michigan Judicial Institute where she facilitated training in Family and Divorce Mediation. She is a founding member of the Michigan Association of Court Mediators.
In addition to her career accomplishments, Sharon has great love for cats, books, line dancing and ice cream (which occasionally serves as her dinner). She twice traveled to Alaska to experience the excitement around the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. She loves to travel near and far, but a large part of her heart resides in New Orleans where she traveled as often as she could. Sharon loves holidays year-round but has a special adoration for Halloween with all of its decorations, festivities, and the hordes of trick-or-treaters that used to descend upon her neighborhood.
Sharon has one daughter and son-in-law and one grandson whom she adores with all her heart. She also has one sister, a brother-in-law, niece, nephews, and great-nephews who comprise her small nuclear family.
Quotes from Former Clients:
"Sharon helped me navigate through a divorce while I was in college, as well as to process grief from a significant death the summer after my senior year of high school. She was phenomenal. Sharon was absolutely integral not only to helping me heal so I could graduate, but to putting me on a path to health. Healthy relationships and a healthy human."
– Samantha M.
“Sharon helped me navigate my parent's divorce, a breakup and emotionally supporting my sister after her boyfriend died of an accidental drug overdose, all while navigating my own college life in a new area two hours away from my hometown. She was always very down to earth. She helped me to realize there was nothing wrong with me for having grief and to set healthy boundaries with family members. My sister is currently a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who graduated from WSU and I am currently married to the "new boyfriend" I had when I last saw Sharon.”
– Alicia S.
“When I started at CMU and was given the opportunity to work with Sharon again (I worked with her as a teenager), I was relieved. Sharon's passion for helping people was a priceless gift. She gave me the guidance and support that I needed and my life would not be what it is today without her.
– Sarah S.
Quotes from Former Colleagues:
"Sharon has been a treasure in our community for years. She was a counselor, mentor and cheerleader for many of us entering the field of mental health. She taught us the value of good clinical practices and how important collaboration is when problem solving. She has been a tireless advocate for her clients and her city. Countless individuals and families are living better lives because of her. This scholarship is a wonderful tribute to a person who gave so much of herself for so many others."
– Deanna Heath, LMSW Mt. Pleasant Counseling, Owner
"I liken our relationship like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. We were opposites on the political philosophy but our differences allowed us to become great friends on and off the commission. She had the ability to make me see the “other side” of the spectrum where others could not. We still may not have agreed but had mutual respect and civil conversations. “Too bad the state and federal governments couldn’t be that way” we’d say. Her passion for the city and the residents were always top of mind and it showed in her policy decisions. A true believer of open communication in governance. Miss those days."
– Jim Holton, Local Business Owner and Former Mt. Pleasant Mayor
I have known Sharon for many years. For nine of these years we worked together at the CMU Counseling Center where she was a counselor and I was Counseling Center director. During this time Sharon was a valued member of the Counseling Center team. For decades Sharon has given tirelessly of herself in support of helping others as a counselor, supervisor of counselors in training, assisting others resolve conflicts, helping families, and involvement in local politics including serving as Mayor of Mt. Pleasant, MI. Sharon strives to help others and enhance the quality of life in Mt. Pleasant. Creating a scholarship in Sharon’s name recognizes Sharon for her many and varied contributions to the Mt. Pleasant community and CMU.
– Ross Rapaport, retired CMU counselor and Counseling Center director