When Jean and Jeffrey met at the Majestic Theater to talk with us about their gift, there was trumpet practice sounding from off-stage. "Never a dull moment here," said Jean LeGros '73. "That's why we built it!" quipped Jeffrey Gabel in response, noting that a typical day includes thirteen hours of active use of the facility.
While working for Gettysburg College, LeGros found joy in raising funds to transform the historic Majestic Theater into a state-of-the-art performance venue, a highlight of her thirty years of work for the College. Eight years ago, Jean was the first to welcome Jeffrey to the community after he was named Founding Executive Director of the Theater. Gabel's response? "I can tell we are going to be great colleagues and friends." Today, these friends have come together to create the Jean LeGros and Jeffrey Gabel Endowment for Family Programming at the Majestic Theater, to be fully funded with gifts from their estates.
"You don't have to be a multi-millionaire to leave a significant legacy," Gabel said. "It's something everyone can do." Jean added, "Being philanthropic is a value I treasure. Neither of us has children, but this is a way we can touch children's lives." Their plans reflect their separate but linked Gettysburg legacies. Having first arrived in Gettysburg in the fall of 1969, Jean found a great love and a long-time home in the College. In retirement, she received her master's degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and now works there in philanthropy (and has also remembered the Seminary in her estate plans). Jeffrey's grandfather graduated from Gettysburg College in 1911 and the Seminary in 1913, raising his children with Gettysburg values of giving, family, and the welcoming of all people-it just took Gabel a little bit longer to find his home here.
Jeffrey, who worked for almost twenty years in public television before coming to Gettysburg, enjoyed a close friendship with Fred Rogers, who believed that "attitudes are caught, not taught." Jeffrey has captured that spirit and works to help children catch the joy of live theater. Thanks to the LeGros and Gabel Endowment, tomorrow's students and local families are promised opportunities to gather together for quality, affordable live performances in Gettysburg College's Majestic Theater.
Posted: Thu, 22 Dec 2011