Eskimo Joe’s beloved T-shirt supporting nurses will honor all health care workers with its 2020 design and provide scholarships for Oklahoma State University students in both the College of Education and Human Sciences and the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.
With the tagline, “On the front lines and behind the scenes,” the design recognizes health care workers ranging from janitors to scientists and doctors, said Laura Demaree, Eskimo Joe’s director of merchandising and business development. Stan Clark, Eskimo Joe’s owner and co-founder, added the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates each individual is vital.
“We’re always looking for how we might leverage Eskimo Joe’s big grin for the greater good,” Clark said. “This just seemed like a cause affecting everyone right now, and we wanted to honor those people who have really been there for all of us.”
Eskimo Joe’s typically develops between five and seven T-shirt designs to promote and sponsor causes each year, Demaree said. For example, funds from past T-shirt sales honoring teachers have already established one permanently endowed scholarship for OSU teacher education students since the first T-shirt design debuted in 2007.
“We have a passion for students and teaching and education,” Demaree said. “We always do what we can to support our community and OSU is obviously a major part of that.”
Dr. Stephan Wilson, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, added partnering with Eskimo Joe’s to provide scholarships for OSU health sciences students in the college and at the Center for Health Sciences underscores the value Eskimo Joe’s places on supporting the OSU and Stillwater Communities.
"Eskimo Joe’s decision to recognize all healthcare workers, both on the front lines and behind the scenes, with this shirt design highlights the attitude of service they bring to our community,” Wilson said. “We are grateful for their longtime partnership investing in scholarships for future teachers and now for this new commitment to support our students’ dreams of working in healthcare.”
While Demaree did not study health sciences at OSU, she does maintain a special connection to the College of Education and Human Sciences as an alumna of the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising.
“Between my sophomore and junior year, I opened the clothes store at Eskimo Joe’s in 1987,” Demaree said. “I’d open the store in the morning, go to class and close the doors at night. I did all of the window displays, too. Everything I was learning in school, I was putting directly into practice every single day.”
Now, after more than 35 years working for Eskimo Joe’s, designing and producing branded clothing helps her stay connected to OSU alumni across the globe.
“When OSU students leave college and move on, they take us with them,” Demaree said. “We've shipped to all 50 states and multiple countries.”
Clark added the T-shirt supporting health care workers also helps Eskimo Joe’s enthusiasts remain connected to the Stillwater community that has kept them safe throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone's doing their part and working hard and long hours,” Clark said of health care workers. “We want to shine a light on their work and just say thank you.”
Eskimo Joe’s, typically closed only two days per year, has reopened after five weeks of being closed for coronavirus safety measures, making the t-shirts now available for sale both in-store and online.
“We hope it encourages people to say thank you, to stop for a moment and just honor those people that have been there for everyone else trying to keep people safe,” Clark said.
For more information on purchasing T-shirts supporting scholarships for students in the College of Education and Human Sciences and the Center for Health Sciences, visit the Eskimo Joe’s website or stop by the merchandise stores in Stillwater and Tulsa.
The OSU College of Education and Human Sciences will officially launch on July 1, 2020, bringing together programs in the College of Education, Health and Aviation and the College of Human Sciences.
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