Gifts that made Gettysburg what it is today

Our alumni are a distinguished group with one thing in common: they value a Gettysburg College education. They are connected through a distinctive experience defined by the campus, the College’s history, its academic excellence, the prominence of public service and active learning, and the expectation to do great work.

What made this College what it is today? The investments of generous people. Some are celebrated on the Benefactors Wall or the Visionary Gettysburgians Wall in the College Union Building. Many are recognized for their annual, reunion, and planned gifts.

Generous people, working together, made Gettysburg College what it is today. Here are ten gifts that capture the commitment, spirit, and intention of all those who honor the Orange and Blue.

Laying the foundation: Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens was a mover and a shaker. Recognized as one of the country’s most powerful congressmen during and after the Civil War, it was his influence as an Adams County community leader that helped Samuel Simon Schmucker to found Pennsylvania College, now Gettysburg College.

An advocate of education, Stevens persuaded prominent decision-makers in the area to take a chance on Schmucker’s venture to jump-start an institution of higher learning.

While representing Gettysburg in the state legislature in 1834, Stevens was instrumental in securing $18,000 from the state to construct the College’s first building, iconic Pennsylvania Hall.


A campus unfolds: The Woman’s League

Gettysburg College is one of the most picturesque campuses in the nation—in large part because of the Woman’s League.

Look around—Huber Hall, Stevens Hall, the Chapel, Old Dorm/Pennsylvania Hall, and Glatfelter Hall—all were renovated with the help of Woman’s League dollars. Not to mention Weidensall Hall, which was erected as a YMCA building and made possible by a Woman’s League campaign.

Through the years, the Woman’s League has provided more than $1 million for scholarships, library books, and academic and extracurricular programming, as well as the Center for Public Service (CPS), Musselman Library, and various music programs.


A special collection: John H. W. Stuckenberg

Perspective is invaluable. No one knew this better than John H. W. Stuckenberg.

Stuckenberg, a writer, traveler, and Army chaplain, had a lifelong passion for maps and an appreciation for the historical outlook they provide. 

Although not an alumnus, Stuckenberg gravitated to Gettysburg College due to its “progressive” curriculum and later bequeathed to the College his collection of more than 500 map sheets from the 16th to the 19th century.

The rare collection includes handcrafted works from renowned cartographers Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), Matthäus Seutter (1678-1756), and Tobias Conrad Lotter (1717-1777). 

Now housed in Special Collections of Musselman Library, the artifacts serve as primary sources for hundreds of students, faculty, and regional and national scholars each year. One donated map even proved vital in solving the Venezuela Boundary Dispute of 1895.



Preserving our history: Henry Luce Foundation

Union and Confederate armies swept through campus during the Battle of Gettysburg. The triumphs and tragedies of July 1863 forever intertwined Gettysburg College with the American story.

The Henry Luce Foundation ensured the College’s historic location would remain an inspiration for future scholars by granting funds to create the Civil War Era Studies program.

Since 1998, the program has also attracted a world-class faculty and is regarded a leader in the national conversation regarding the Civil War.

The impact was evident during last summer’s sesquicentennial commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg, as numerous media outlets relied upon the program’s experts, recognizing the strong academic reputation of the CWES and Gettysburg College.


A step for social justice: Stephen Warner ’68

Gettysburg College students are charged to realize their responsibility as global citizens—an example set through the sacrifice of Stephen Warner ’68 (right).

Warner, a proponent of civil rights and social justice, was ordered to serve a one-year assignment on the Army’s public relations staff in Vietnam. The photojournalist was killed in an ambush near the Laotian border in 1971, just three days before he was scheduled to return home.

The talented writer and photographer bequeathed to the College his G.I. insurance “to create intellectually controversial activities.” His gift laid the groundwork for the Center for Public Service (CPS).

Today, 72 percent of our students are involved in community service, in the U.S. and abroad. The College was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.


An inclusive community: Bruce Gordon ’68 and David LeVan ’68

Alumnus and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Bruce Gordon ’68 helped ensure the College could enroll more students from historically underrepresented groups.

In 2001, Gordon presented Gettysburg with a $500,000 gift to establish an endowed scholarship in his name. His classmate David LeVan ’68, former chair of the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees, later matched the gift, bringing the total endowment for the fund to $1 million.

Today, the Bruce S. Gordon Endowed Scholarship not only benefits its recipients, but also improves the learning environment and vibrancy of the campus for everyone at the College. Since 2001, the percentage of domestic students of color has risen from 5.4 percent to 10.4 percent.


Building a strong endowment: John F. Jaeger ’65

A strong endowment is the financial lifeblood of American colleges and universities. Endowment funds allow institutions to offer new programs and services, while providing flexibility during times of economic downturn.

Many visionary Gettysburgians have understood and appreciated the pivotal difference that a strong endowment means to the health and well-being of the College.

Trustee John F. Jaeger ’65 is one such Gettysburgian. In 2012, he pledged the largest gift to the general endowment in the College’s history.

Through his $5 million commitment, made in the first year of the leadership phase of Gettysburg Great: The Campaign for Our College, Jaeger hopes to inspire other Gettysburgians to make their own “gifts of a lifetime” and benefit our students into the future.


Home field advantage: John ’52 and Mary Clark

On May 24–25, 2014, Clark Field hosted the NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse Championship. For the second time, the exceptional venue spotlights the College as host of a national contest. 

The complex was made possible through the generosity of former Bullets soccer goalkeeper John Clark ’52 and his wife Mary. It is one of the couple’s many gifts to the College. 

Women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, and men’s lacrosse have each won championships on its artificial playing surface. The Clark Field complex gives Gettysburg women's athletics a battlefield advantage.

The venue enjoys the most breathtaking backdrop in collegiate sports: the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, with its flame lit in remembrance of the soldiers who gave their lives on these grounds in 1863.


Bringing music center stage: Dr. F. William Sunderman ’19

Long before Gettysburg College students were performing across the globe in China and Singapore, a young violinist was developing a lifelong love for music while performing in the Glee Club and College Orchestra on campus. 

Nearly a century later, that dedicated Gettysburgian, F. William Sunderman, changed the College’s music program forever by bequeathing his alma mater $14 million to establish the Sunderman Conservatory of Music.

The largest gift in the College’s history to date provides talented students with comprehensive classical music instruction and performance training in conjunction with a high-quality liberal arts education.

In 2005, its founding year, there were thirty-seven music majors and two degrees offered. A performance degree was added and today there are 103 music majors. Graduates are landing outstanding positions in performance, music management, arts administration, and writing, or are pursuing advanced degrees.


Access to a great education: Gettysburg Fund Scholarship

In 2012 the College created the Gettysburg Fund Scholarship to enable benefactors to commit at least $10,000 and provide an annual scholarship of $2,500 or more over a four-year period.

Generous gifts from Holly Keller ’87 and Matthew McDevitt ’87 and from Ronald Smith ’59 helped to launch the program. A number of alumni have since followed suit, naming their own Gettysburg Fund Scholarships. The Class of 1962 established the first group scholarship in honor of their reunion with a $25,000 fund, as have subsequent reunion classes, some creating one or multiple funds for their year.

Outside of the financial benefits to students, these gifts open the door for donors to develop lasting friendships with their student recipients—relationships that may endure for a lifetime.

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 enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Mike Baker, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521.

Posted: Tue, 15 Jul 2014

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