Philanthropy in Action

by | Nov 1, 2021 | Philanthropy.

Along with faculty member Dan Steinberg, communication students Felicity Boykin (left) and Malachi Brooks (right) met with former parent, donor, and CEO of Huntington Bank Stephen Steinour P’15 (center) at his office earlier this summer to express their gratitude for receiving the Kaitlin Steinour ‘15 Communications Endowed Scholarship, established by the Steinour family to honor their daughter and Otterbein alumna, Kaitlin, who graduated with a degree in public relations.

The Hargis Family Foundation, established by Jonathan R. Hargis ’79 and Gretchen Freeman Hargis ’77 and their family, have made a generous $100,000 pledge as the lead supporters of a new four-year initiative, Every Student Will. The program will provide a custom education and career path for every student at Otterbein.

In July 2021, Virginia Phillippi Longmire ’55 made a gift of $35,000 to support the Campus Center Renovation Initiative. Her support will help revitalize the Campus Center and make it the heart of Otterbein’s student community once again. We are also grateful for her continued support of the Otterbein Fund with a leadership gift of $10,000.


In honor of his retirement from Deloitte after 41 years of service, Kenneth and Lynn Weixel designated a donation to the Brittany Weixel Endowment. This fund, established by Jean Weixel Reynolds ’77, is named in memory of their daughter and provides critical support to the Office of Student Affairs’ eating disorder educational efforts.


The Class of 1971, in honor of their 50th Golden Reunion, has established the Class of 1971 Promise House and Community Garden Endowed Fund to help offset barriers to college success as a result of food insecurity.  Major donors include Jim ’71 and Linda Ancik ’71 Augspurger, Jim Francis ’71, David Phillips ’71, Wendy Roush ’71, Candace Scott Simms ’71, and Tom ’71 and Cheryl Kirk ’72 Turner.  The funds raised so far total more than $68,000.


Trustee Dr. Mindy Phinney ’85 made a generous $100,000 commitment to support the President’s Fund for Strategic Initiatives, which will help Otterbein launch special initiatives and capitalize on opportunities that will benefit the University and its students. The gift also supports the Otterbein Fund, helping to offset the University’s most pressing annual needs and opportunities.


Curt Moore ’64 made a $10,000 gift in support of Access and Affordability as part of the For the Love of Otterbein fundraising initiative. He also made a gift of $1,250 to provide flu shots to Otterbein students in need.


James Shilling ’77 and his wife, Hyo, have documented a $250,000 planned gift to support Otterbein’s unrestricted endowment. The couple has generously supported the University and the Otterbein Fund for 23 years. Shilling currently serves as the George L. Ruff Endowed Chair in the Department of Finance and Real Estate at DePaul University in Chicago.


Lois Szudy MAE’99, retired director of the Courtright Memorial Library, made a $52,000 gift from her IRA to endow funds for the Library and Department of Equine Science. She had previously made a planned gift to these funds in her estate.


Jack Whalen ’66 and Karen Persson ’67 Whalen made a $15,000 commitment over three years to expand the Every Student Will initiative. They feel strongly about investing in extraordinary out-of-classroom learning opportunities for students, including internships, research, study abroad, and other professional development experiences.


Otterbein is grateful to the Fotis Family for gifting $50,000 to endow two funds at Otterbein. The Eleanor Fotis Endowed Scholarship will fund a major in the Department of Sociology, Criminology and Justice Studies. The William Fotis Experiential Learning Endowed Fund will support students who want to expand their knowledge outside the classroom.


Deborah Banwart Lewis ’77 in Altadena, CA, gave a substantial planned gift along with a current use gift, both to the Department of Theatre and Dance.


Otterbein is grateful for $55,000 from William “Bill” Cole ’54, who established in the spring through an estate gift, the William E. Cole and Barbara Seabrook Cole Class of 1954 Athletic Endowment. This will be the first endowed fund for the Otterbein athletic director’s use. He also continued his gifts toward enhancing Memorial Stadium, which began with the Cole Victory Bell. Sadly, Bill passed away in September 2021 on his 94th birthday.


A lead gift from the late John Howard established a fund to honor two Otterbein families. The families were linked by marriage through multiple siblings. In total, 19 were alumni, trustees, and one was an Otterbein president. The Howard/Norris Endowed Scholarship Fund, at more than $41,000, was created in loving memory of these individuals.


Ann Harting P’94 established a fund with a gift of $25,000. She and her late husband, Bob, are parents of Annette Harting Boose ’94 and Robert Harting. Son-in-law, Andrew Boose ’06, and granddaughter, Elisha Boose ’14, are also alumni. The Robert J. and Ann M. Harting Endowed Award is created to continue their legacy.


Otterbein is grateful to William W. Davis and Ellen D. Gagne for an additional contribution to the Dr. William and Mary Davis H’01 Memorial Scholarship. William and Mary participated in numerous Otterbein activities. They leveraged their education to improve others’ lives; to honor this, their family made the endowment in 2019.


Annbeth Sommers Wilkinson ’56 has supported Otterbein with a commitment of $45,000 earmarked for the Campus Center Fund, Otterbein Fund, and Robert and Annbeth S. Wilkinson Scholarship. Wilkinson is a member of the Class of ’56, which celebrated its 65th reunion this year!


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