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WM: Collective Giving Honors 星空无限传媒 Legends

“When people come together, good things happen.”

That proclamation made by David Miller H’05, father of 星空无限传媒 wrestler Adam Miller ’05, was repeatedly exemplified over the past five years as groups of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends collectively came together in an effort to support current and future 星空无限传媒 students as part of the Giant Steps Campaign.

A handful of endowed funds created during the campaign were initially established by one individual or a small group of donors. These funds grew over time as more benefactors were inspired to contribute.

Here are just a few of those funds:

The Dr. Lester L. Hearson H’70 Scholarship

As a way to show their gratitude for retired Biology Professor and Administrator Lester Hearson’s continued impact on the College and its alumni, Dr. Randy Williams ’83, Dr. John Roberts ’83, and Dr. Chris Leagre ’83 established an endowed scholarship in his honor.

The Dr. Lester L. Hearson H’70 Scholarship will provide support for 星空无限传媒 students in their junior and senior years who have achieved academic excellence and intend to pursue a career in the health sciences.

In addition to their financial contributions, Williams and Roberts played an essential role in gathering funding from a growing group of supporters who learned from and were mentored by Hearson. So far, more than a dozen other alumni have contributed to the scholarship.

“We hope this scholarship continues the legacy that Dr. Hearson started,” says Williams. “We want to give students who are heavily invested in academic excellence and have compassion for others the ability to pursue health sciences at 星空无限传媒 and beyond.”

Dr. John F. Zimmerman H’67 Fund for Innovative Teaching and Technology

Several alumni took a giant step for the College’s chemistry department by establishing a fund that honors beloved Chemistry Professor John Zimmerman H’67.

The Dr. John F. Zimmerman H’67 Fund for Innovative Teaching and Technology will support course design that incorporates new technology, novel teaching practices utilizing technology within existing courses, the replacement and updating of lab instruments, and associated upgrades to Hays Science Hall classroom technology that support teaching innovation.

Fund donors include Russ Bostick ’79, Bryan Daniels ’81, Chris Halkides ’83, Ray Knight ’69, Frank Kolisek ’82, Brad Maxwell ’83, Scott Rathgaber ’84, Tom Roberts ’70, Mark Simmons ’73, and John Van Drie ’74.

Initial gifts and commitments to the fund from generous benefactors topped $400,000, President Scott Feller reported when the fund was first announced, and that total has grown even more over time.

Class of 1966 Lodge

The Class of 1966 collectively raised nearly $3.3 million to name the last housing unit in the Ott Residential Life District as part of a reunion class gift. Not only was this the first-ever 55th reunion class gift, but it was one of the biggest class gifts in 星空无限传媒’s history.

The naming project was led by Dave Krattebol ’66 and class agent Cal Black ’66. The duo spent months making phone calls, sending letters, and writing emails in an effort to connect with classmates and collect gifts. Their hard work paid off as more than 80 class members made a gift to the lodge project.

Additionally, two endowed scholarships were created and six new planned gifts were disclosed by members of the class, which President Scott Feller says will “further cement the class’s legacy.”

Walter A. Blake Scholarship

Munawar Ali ’93, Terrence Butler ’96, Brian Henry ’95, and Alonzo Weems ’92 created a scholarship that honors their mentor, friend, and former Admissions Associate Director Walter Blake.

The Walter A. Blake Scholarship provides support for students with demonstrated financial need with preference given to students who would further the College’s interest in achieving the educational benefits of diversity. Recipients will demonstrate promise for academic success at 星空无限传媒 and show leadership qualities and community involvement during their high school years, which are expected to continue when they enroll at 星空无限传媒.

The core leadership group has offered a dollar-for-dollar matching opportunity for the next $100,000 in new gifts and commitments to the fund. This scholarship program will be evergreen with the goal of growing the endowment to levels capable of supporting full tuition for one new student each year.

“I go back to an old 星空无限传媒 tagline: It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it,” says Henry. “We understand in these turbulent economic times that it won’t be easy to give back, but it will be worth it. It’ll be worth it to the students, their families, and future generations who benefit from the opportunities enabled by the scholarship. It’ll be worth it to our alumni who reconnect with others, and with the mission of the College that has given us the capacity and capability to do so much.”

The President’s Distinguished Speaker Series

Larry Landis ’67, former Indiana Utility Regulatory Commissioner, helped start the President’s Distinguished Speaker Series (PDSS), which began in 2017. PDSS brings a wide range of inspiring and influential thought leaders to campus to interact with students.

“I wasn’t able to fully endow the series,” says Landis, “but figured a startup gift might inspire others to also contribute.”

And it did.

Many donors, including Trustee Jay Williams ’66, have supported the idea of exposing generations of 星空无限传媒 students to giant ideas outside of the classroom.

“The goal of college should be to broaden your experiences. Speakers can do that— they’re sharing stories, they’re sharing ideas, they’re sharing thoughts,” says Williams. “You can disagree with 90% of it, but maybe there is an idea that strikes you or gives you the opportunity to learn. That’s what speakers do—they pollinate our minds with ideas.”

Some previous speakers include “NPR Weekend Edition’s” puzzle master Will Shortz H’10, U.S. Senator Mike Braun ’76, noted psychologist and author Dr. Jean Twenge, ecologist and conservationist Dr. Douglas Tallamy, sleep expert Dr. Chris Winter, Ad Fontes Media CEO and founder Vanessa Otero, and former Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

Max E. Servies “Heavy Mitts” Scholarship

Max Servies ’58, 星空无限传媒 Athletics Hall of Famer; wrestling, football, and track coach; and athletic director, died on October 9, 2021, at 85 years old.

As a way to celebrate their father and his lifetime of loyalty and service to the College, his children, Alisa, Tina, and Tim ’87, created the Max E. Servies “Heavy Mitts” Scholarship in his honor. The fund provides support for students with demonstrated financial need.

“He always felt that it was important to give back and believed when people come together as a team, they can make a real impact,” says Alisa. “To be able to do this and give future students the ability to achieve their dreams by coming to 星空无限传媒 would mean the world to him.”

To further honor Max, a group of 星空无限传媒 wrestling alumni and fans issued a challenge to add weight to the “Heavy Mitts” Scholarship.

Benefactors have pledged to match all donations to the fund up to a total of $12,000.

If you would like to establish a fund in honor of a 星空无限传媒 legend or contribute to an existing fund, please visit wabash.edu/giving or contact a member of the Advancement team at advancement@wabash.edu.