Endowments and Their Powerful Legacy

Posted Sep 16, 2020

The decision to create an endowed fund at Otterbein is a deeply personal one, and no two stories are alike. Whether to honor a mentor, memorialize a loved one, or leave a personal legacy, an endowed fund makes a testament that will stand the test of time. We are amazed by the stories of individuals who start scholarships and awards at Otterbein, and hope that their stories will inspire you.

Tim Snipes has a story that is especially remarkable. He started an endowed scholarship in 2004 to honor his late wife, Elsa Giammarco ‘76. When asked about why he chose to give back to Otterbein even though he did not attend himself, Tim said:

“For me, this was specifically for Elsa. I know that she really thought of the Otterbein experience as pivotal in her life. She made a number of lifelong friends that were always there for her. When I met Elsa and her friends and work circle, so many of them had Otterbein connections. It was immediately clear that Otterbein was important to her.”

Elsa’s story of supporting Otterbein goes back further. In 1997, she endowed an award in honor of her parents Pasquale and Concetta Giammarco to support foreign language students. Then in 1999, to honor the passing of her first husband, Elsa created the Donald and Elsa Giammarco ‘76 Van Zant Sr. Endowed Award. This fund continues to support business marketing students.

When Elsa passed away in 2004, Tim said the decision to honor her memory at Otterbein was clear:

“When I was thinking of something to do to honor her, it was obvious that setting up a new scholarship in her name that helps students on a similar government career path would be useful. I’ve often thought that, if I had passed before her, there would probably be a scholarship at Otterbein in my name.

Today, Tim is a strong believer in Otterbein’s mission and the impact it makes for students. He says that “it’s always had such a good reputation in scholastics, but the social side is just as important. It’s also obvious how important Otterbein is to the Westerville community.” He manages and supports all three of these endowed funds, receives regular reports on their financial performance, and updates on which students they have helped. He appreciates the updates that Otterbein sends and says it is always nice to receive a thank you note from a student or a message from faculty.