College remembers life and legacy of Honorary Life Trustee John Jaeger ’65

Gettysburg College Honorary Life Trustee John Jaeger ’65 passed away on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at the age of 76. Memorial details are displayed below.

Memorial Details

The John F. Jaeger funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 29 at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 9200 Kentsdale Drive, Potomac, MD 20854. Visitation is scheduled for 11 a.m. followed by the service at noon.

Jaeger served on the College’s Board of Trustees for 14 years (1998-2012). During his tenure, he was instrumental to advancing our shared mission by strengthening the institution in a variety of strategic areas, including through his leadership and contributions to the Gettysburg Great Campaign, The Unfinished Work Campaign, the Commission on the Future, the Gettysburg Fund, and the Eisenhower Institute, as well as to several student scholarships and campus facilities projects, most notably the construction of the Science Center and The John F. Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation and Fitness.

Jaeger Center at night

“John Jaeger was truly one of a kind—a generous and dedicated Gettysburgian who had a lasting impact on our College and our student experience. He was, until his passing, the last of our living Honorary Life Trustees, a distinction awarded to only 11 people in the 187-year history of our College,” said President Bob Iuliano.

“I had the honor of meeting John in my early weeks as president, and was immediately inspired by his deep admiration for, and commitment to, his alma mater. His volunteer service to our College, particularly on the Board of Trustees and the Eisenhower Institute National Advisory Council, combined with his selfless philanthropic support, will continue to have a profound impact on Gettysburg College for generations to come. He leaves a remarkable legacy that will not be forgotten. I join the campus community in expressing my condolences to his family and friends.”

A former business major, Jaeger served as the chairman of the DANAC Corporation. As a Visionary Gettysburgian and a member of our 1832 society, Jaeger’s lifetime family giving to Gettysburg College exceeded $7 million, including a $2.5 million gift to the John Jaeger Unrestricted Endowment in 2011. In honor of his generous philanthropic support, Jaeger’s name was added to our Benefactors’ Wall in 2005.

“I am fortunate to have known John and to have been able to call him a true friend,” said Bob Duelks ’77, former chair of the Board of Trustees. “Behind his tough exterior was a most generous and humble man. My world is better for having known John.”

Jaeger Center Naming

Jaeger was a driving force behind the Center for Athletics, Recreation and Fitness, which opened in 2009 and was rededicated in his honor in 2012. As the key advocate of the Center’s creation, Jaeger spearheaded a Trustee-led subcommittee that performed a detailed preconstruction review, including project scope and architectural design. Shortly after this intensive work, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the $25 million project and fundraising commenced. Jaeger delivered the first major gift to the project—and offered to match all future gifts to the Center, dollar for dollar, up to $1.2 million.

Today, the Center serves as an ideal athletic and recreation space for Gettysburg’s active campus community. The 55,000-square-foot building connects to the Bream Wright Hauser Athletic Complex and includes a natatorium with eight competition lanes, a four-lane warm-up pool, and 350-seat spectator gallery.  The Center also features a 10,000-square-foot weight and fitness room, multipurpose spaces, and a state-of-the-art bouldering and rock-climbing wall.

The John F. Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation and Fitness was constructed following a set of standards for environmental sustainability developed by the United States Green Building Counsel, also known as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

Thanks in large measure to the Center, Gettysburg College earned a Top 20 “Best Athletic Facilities” ranking by the Princeton Review in 2015, 2018, and 2019, as well as “Everyone Plays Intramural Sports” recognition by the outlet in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Karen (left) and John Jaeger and friends

Since his graduation in 1965, Jaeger proved to be one of Gettysburg College’s most devoted volunteers. He served as chair of the Life Safety Task Force, Bullet Land Board, and the Audit and College Life Committees, as well as co-chair of the Athletics and Recreation Facilities Committee. Jaeger also sat on the Finance, Endowment, Vice Presidential Search, and Steering Committees, among many others.

More recently, Jaeger offered his invaluable insights and guiding voice to the Eisenhower Institute National Advisory Council and the EI National Advisory Council Development Committee, helping the Institute to deepen its national footprint and promote its unique brand of nonpartisan discourse and critical analysis to students and policy leaders alike.

“John’s unassuming manner sometimes concealed a wealth of compassion, wit, and wisdom; his subtle humor was infectious and mischievous, his spirit was untamed, and his quiet generosity to Gettysburg College and the Eisenhower Institute bespoke of his deep affection for and belief in the value of each of them. And, to be his friend was a rewarding treasure that will be most difficult to ever replace,” said Fred Fielding ’61 of The Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study at the Eisenhower Institute.