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Nancy Wells Lovett ’74, charitable gifts officer – major gifts
What's in your office?
My wall of photos and articles represents about 30 of DePauw’s major gift donors with whom I’ve had the honor of working.
1. There are myriad heartfelt stories embedded within each major gift decision and donor experience. I look at the photos and remember the donor(s), each situation, my first visit, the first conversation about a possible major gift to DePauw, etc. The journey toward a major gift or commitment is different for each individual or couple. On the whole, I think major gift fundraising is a creative endeavor and very much a balancing act.
2. DePauw faculty members, YOU are the reason that alumni make life-changing gifts to DePauw. Today’s donors talk about their former professors. Alumni will remember the education you provided, the times you pushed them to be better and encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunities DePauw offers.
This also applies, of course, to DePauw staff who work closely with students. To those who touch a DePauw student’s academic and experiential learning experience during their four years on campus, you may unknowingly be helping to inspire a future gift. It may be 20 years from now or 50 years, but, thanks to you, there will be future major gift donors among the 2022 seniors who will graduate this Sunday.
3. To illustrate this role of faculty and staff members in major gifts, I point to the article on Pat ’57 and Bob ’60 Canfield. The Canfields endowed the Baughman Faculty Fellowship because they were inspired by the life, teaching and mentorship of their history professor, Dr. John J. Baughman. Bob Canfield sums it up, “Good teachers stick with you. Their impact lasts a lifetime.”
I have many similar stories of gifts inspired by DePauw’s faculty and staff, but I’ll share the most recent. This year, 1968 graduates Dick and Sonnie Talley endowed a need-based student scholarship in biology to honor their esteemed professor Dr. Jim Gammon, for his teaching, mentorship and the field trips he led in studying the ecology of water. They loved the faculty/student collaborative research experience. Fortunately, Dr. Gammon reconnected with his former students last fall when they called to tell him about the scholarship in his honor.
4. It has been a special privilege to work with several DePauw emeriti faculty members who approached me about wanting to make a gift. The article on Walker Gilmer, professor emeritus of English, pictures Walker with the first recipient of the Peggy and Walker Gilmer need-based Scholarship Fund. For those who knew Walker, you will understand what a joy and adventurous ride it was to assist Walker in finalizing his gift and documenting the impact he wanted to make in the life of DePauw students. In addition to the scholarship, Walker funded several other funds benefiting students. He did not want to leave a stone unturned. The article on Nancy J. Davis, professor emerita of sociology shows Nancy and Rob signing the gift agreement for the Nancy J. Davis and Robert V. Robinson Scholarship which will be established through their estate. Their ‘future gift’ will assist students from under-represented minorities and families of limited means with scholarship support.
5. Another article posted on my ‘wall of donors’ is about Roger B. Nelsen ’64, professor emeritus of mathematics at Lewis & Clark College. As a donor, Roger was inspired by the needs of a former student to establish the Roger B. Nelsen Mathematics Fund at DePauw to assist with expenses not covered by scholarships, such as fees for the GRE or actuarial exam.
The article about Professor Nelsen also shares a wonderful quote, one that I think embodies the liberal arts experience. Roger said, “When my students came in and wanted to load up their schedule with mathematics, I would say, ‘No, I’m not going to sign that. You’ve really got to take that Shakespeare class or Native American history class.’ I advised my students to take advantage of being at a liberal arts college, plus they have all these wonderful professors outside of mathematics.” Go Roger!
Finally, I invite you to walk over to my office sometime to view my donor wall in person. My office is tucked away in the southeast corner on the third floor of the Bottoms Center for Development and Alumni Engagement. Please come visit!
Faculty and Staff News Roundup
Sujung Kim, associate professor of religious studies, published an article May 11, “A Star God Is Born: Chintaku Reifujin Talismans in Japanese Religions,” in a special issue of Aspects of Medieval Japanese Religion.
May 21, 4 p.m., Green Center for the Performing Arts, Kresge Auditorium.
The Baccalaureate Ceremony marks the first formal event of Commencement Weekend. Historically a religious worship service, Baccalaureate at DePauw includes prayers and readings from many traditions, as well as inspiring music and reflections.
Tickets are required but the ceremony may be viewed via livestream.
DePauw Under the Stars May 21, 8-10 p.m., Stewart Plaza and East College Lawn.
Join graduates and their families and guests for an evening of music and conversation. All are welcome to attend.
May 22, 10 a.m., East College Lawn. The ceremony can also be viewed via livestream.
Summer Fridays Reminder
University offices will officially close at noon each Friday beginning May 27 through July 29, 2022. If you have additional questions, please contact your supervisor or the Office of Human Resources at ext. 4181. Learn more.
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