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President's Blog: From the Heart

Generous Hearts

By Eric F. Spina

What’s the measure of a life well lived?

I’m drawn to words often attributed to Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

During this week of gratitude for our nearly 15,000 donors, I offer special thanks to a special club of philanthropists — those who have given year in and year out for 35 years or more. That’s *not* a typo. These are philanthropists extraordinaire who are quietly propelling our beloved university forward through their consistent giving —and love for UD.

I’d like to call out these loyal Front Porch Society members, who are supporting a wide array of programs, from scholarships to academic programs:

Donald L. Grieshop ’66 and Janet Grieshop
Charles L. Brinkman ’70 and Kathleen Brinkman ‘70
Stephan A. Mahrt ’68 and Susan M. Mahrt
Paul G. Schorr ’58 and Connie M. Schorr

Another member of the 35-year-plus club, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she didn’t set out intentionally to reach this milestone, but she decided early in her career as a chemist that gifts to her alma mater, along with support for women and children, would be most meaningful.

“I was given the gift of a wonderful education that enabled me to go to graduate school and do a job I wanted to do in my profession,” she says. “It’s important to pay it forward, just as someone paid it forward for all of us.”

How is she doing that? Along with several friends, she started an endowed scholarship in memory of a classmate who died young of breast cancer. Today, she’s working to endow an undergraduate summer research award for students seeking valuable lab experience for their résumés.

As UD moves into the future, she says private support will help the University maintain its strong academic profile and provide scholarships to shape a more diverse class.

Private support for scholarships is our greatest need. Fittingly, we kicked off Donor Appreciation Week with a brunch honoring our scholarship donors whose generosity is allowing us to attract and retain the brightest, most talented young people.

Last fiscal year, more than 1,300 students received nearly $6.5 million in donor-funded scholarship support. We established 25 new endowed scholarships. In a time when the needs of our students expanded greatly because of the pandemic, our loyal donors provided the support that they needed.

That’s faith in UD’s future. That’s creating a future of promise for generations of students.

And, for our donors who step forward year after year, that’s “making a life by what we give.”

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