Gettysburg College receives $1 million in scholarship funds from alumna

With a $1 million gift in memory of her husband and father, Daria Lo Presti Foster '76 has established a scholarship fund for students at Gettysburg College. Hers is the largest gift received from a living alumna in the College's 179-year history.

"I am very pleased to announce this generous gift," said President Janet Morgan Riggs '77. "and I am deeply moved that Daria chose to honor her husband and father in a way that will make a Gettysburg College education accessible to a student who might otherwise not be able to attend."

The William C. Foster and John P. Lo Presti Scholarship Fund will be awarded annually to one or more worthy and promising students with demonstrated need, beginning this fall.

A graduate of St. Bonaventure and member of its Board of Trustees, William C. Foster was dedicated to supporting education and especially the liberal arts.  He enjoyed a distinguished career as senior counsel at Champion International before retiring in 2000. William and Daria Foster were married 31 years prior to his death in November 2010. Education was a passion they shared and they created a scholarship fund at St. Bonaventure.

"The St. Bonaventure scholarship honors our mothers. Bill's mother was a teacher and my mother valued education deeply. It has been on my mind to do something similar to honor my father, who was also a great proponent of education. The scholarship named for my husband and father at Gettysburg recognizes the two men who had the most influence on my life. They would be pleased that the fund will open up opportunities for students far into the future," said Foster.

John P. Lo Presti was an attorney and accomplished entrepreneur who built a thriving insurance brokerage firm with his wife Anna. They instilled a lifelong love of learning and a strong work ethic in their three daughters.

"We grew up understanding that education was important, not for the material aspects but because education makes it possible to contribute more greatly to the world," said Foster.

An English major, Daria Lo Presti Foster served on the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees and led a critical task force on Residential Life during the Commission on the Future, a transformational planning effort that propelled the College to national prominence. She was the 1996 recipient of the College's Woman of Distinction award.

Foster holds the distinction of being the first female partner at Lord Abbett & Co. LLC, one of the nation's oldest investment management firms, where she is managing partner as well as president and director of Lord Abbett Mutual Funds. Earlier in her career she was one of the youngest vice presidents at Irving Trust Company.  Her volunteer service on the boards of the New York Philharmonic and the Urban Education Exchange underscore her commitment to advancing arts and education.

"Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by people who were very giving of their knowledge and their time and I view it as a reciprocal relationship," said Foster, who has offered career development insights to Gettysburg students and alumni.

"People ask about the importance of a business major for a career in finance, when in fact we find that the benefits of a liberal arts education are more critical, such as intellectual curiosity, passion, knowing how to think and communicate, and having good people skills," she said. "I had a wonderful four years at Gettysburg and made friends who are friends for life. I believe in the direction the College is heading and am pleased that this scholarship will allow future students to study at Gettysburg.

Assuring that a Gettysburg College education is accessible to all deserving students is an important priority for the College, where more than two-thirds of incoming students receive College-administered financial aid.

"The gift of a scholarship is truly an investment in the future." Riggs said.  "We expect Gettysburg graduates to go on to have positive impact in their professions, in their communities, and in the world at large." 

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college, which enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students, is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Sue Baldwin-Way, director of development communications, 717.337.6832

Posted: Mon, 9 May 2011

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