"Remain loyal, do what you can with your time and your money, and sometimes do more if you're lucky." That's the message Greg Islan '70, Alumni Board director, gives to Gettysburgians. It's also what he has personally chosen to do, leaving an extraordinary record of service and philanthropy in his wake.
Supporting higher education is one of Islan's top priorities. He has been involved with his graduate school, his children's alma maters, and is executive director of the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, which provides college scholarships and educational counseling to the children of military personnel killed in the line of duty. In recognition of his extraordinary civic contributions and service to his community and the College, he received Gettysburg's Meritorious Service Award in 2005.
When it comes to volunteer roles at Gettysburg, Islan has just about done it all: admissions, career development, class agent, Board of Fellows, Commission on the Future, Alumni Board, and chair for his 40th reunion this past June. At the same time he has been a loyal contributor to the Gettysburg Fund and generous to College scholarship funds.
Islan's impact isn't just felt, but is in plain view every day on campus through sculptures he has given. "An art course I took as a sophomore was a life-changing event," he said. "I found a new way of seeing the world, I found something I loved. When I had the opportunity to make a meaningful gift and benefit to the art department, someone suggested I talk with Mark Warwick, the chair of visual arts."
Much of the large-scale public sculpture gracing the campus is a result of their synergy. Islan's generosity and Warwick's network of artists allows Gettysburg to bring sculpture to campus on a long-term loan basis. Islan believes "art leads to opening up our range of vision, taking our blinders off and challenging our views," and helps make connections within a liberal arts education.
Islan has also provided funding to art majors for special opportunities. This summer he is supporting Jinming Dong '10, a student whose work was accepted in the International Biennale for Young Art at the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow, Russia.
Islan is equally dedicated to bringing people to campus. "I believe in getting people involved, getting them to come back to the College, meeting the President, talking with the students, and seeing that students are the same as they've always been - dynamic, fascinated by what they're doing, and having a great time. When people see that, when they are ready, and when they are asked, they give," he said. "I like to help other people find out how much they love Gettysburg."