Inspired by Gettysburg College’s bold and ambitious vision of the future, distinguished alumna and member of the President’s Advisory Circle Daria Lo Presti Wallach ’76 has demonstrated her unqualified support for that vision by making the largest commitment by any living Gettysburg College donor in the 191-year history of the institution.
An ardent and passionate supporter of Gettysburg’s goal to provide A Consequential Education to all students—one that enables students to gain greater insight into themselves, identify their passions, and achieve success in their postgraduate careers—Wallach has pledged $10 million to her alma mater.
This commitment by Wallach will help Gettysburg provide today’s students with an education in the liberal arts and sciences that is relevant, meaningful, and amplifies the most transformational aspects of Gettysburg’s undergraduate experience.
“Daria has made an extraordinary commitment to the College and an equally extraordinary statement about our vision for the future. I have conveyed to her my and the entire community’s deepest gratitude for her transformative gift and generosity,” said College President Bob Iuliano. “Our goal as an institution is to prepare our students to lead lives of consequence, both on campus and throughout their lives. Daria’s gift helps make this aspiration a reality. I know her commitment will inspire others to join us as we ensure that Gettysburg College students receive the dynamic education that permits them, as Daria has, to confidently shape their life’s path in service to society.”
“I am inspired by the fact that Gettysburg is evolving and responding to an environment that's changing. That is what the liberal arts are about—the ability to adapt, to respond, to perform,” said Wallach, who enjoyed a successful career in finance, including 28 years at Lord Abbett & Co LLC, where she became the first woman partner and the first woman to serve as the Managing Partner. “I am so pleased to see how much this College has grown without forgetting its roots and always steeped in the importance of a liberal arts education.”
“I'm thankful that I'm able to make this commitment and it's a way of expressing my thanks to the College for the education and skills that helped me build my own career success.”
– Daria Lo Presti Wallach ’76
An English major as an undergraduate, Wallach has demonstrated continued support of the expansion of academic and co-curricular programs. In 2020, she established a $1.5 million endowment to create The Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach Professorship of Peace and Justice Studies. The position, currently held by Prof. of Africana Studies Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams, promotes peace and justice programming for the College community in coordination with other programs, such as the Eisenhower Institute, the Center for Public Service, and the Garthwait Leadership Center.
A member of Gettysburg College’s Benefactor’s Circle, Wallach has been a loyal supporter of a variety of initiatives over the years, notably the Gettysburg Fund and scholarship, including The William C. Foster and John P. Lo Presti Scholarship Fund.
“Daria has shown incredible dedication and passion for Gettysburg College through her philanthropy and leadership,” noted Vice President for College Advancement Tres Mullis. “Her historic commitment at this early stage in our comprehensive campaign is a tremendous statement on her part and a reflection of her desire to inspire others to stretch in their support of the College in the years ahead.”
“We are deeply grateful to Daria for her vision in adding great momentum to our efforts to secure the necessary support to bring the College’s Strategic Direction to life,” Mullis added.
The $10 million commitment was announced during The Summit on the Future held on Sept. 22-23. President Iuliano also announced that Wallach and trustee Bill Heyman ’74, P’13 will serve as co-chairs of the College’s comprehensive campaign.
The Summit brought together more than 200 of Gettysburg College’s most passionate stakeholders and leadership to envision Gettysburg’s future through the lens of the Strategic Direction.
Participants had the opportunity to experience Gettysburg’s unique approach to learning—the Gettysburg Approach—in action and get a glimpse of what the future holds for the College and its students. The two-day event explored the many facets of the Gettysburg Approach, including the pursuit of a breadth and depth of knowledge and the development of enduring skills most valued by employers.
While reinforcing those anchors in our liberal arts education, the Gettysburg Approach also includes a more focused approach to mentorship and career guidance. Each student will be assigned a Personal Advising Team comprised of a faculty advisor, co-curricular advisor, career advisor, and following their sophomore year, an alumni mentor. Students will also have the option of selecting one of four thematic Guided Pathways to help ensure they are making the most of their time on campus and connecting their experiences in an intentional way. Every Guided Pathway intersects with a four-year Career Pathway that provides students with direct career-related experiences and guidance.
Wallach’s commitment is a ringing endorsement of the College’s vision for the future and a call to other stakeholders to display their own support through philanthropy, leadership, and engagement in the coming months and years. Gettysburg provided the foundation for Wallach’s own successful and fulfilling career and now, she says, she aims to empower future generations of Gettysburgians to achieve meaningful and satisfying careers of their own.
“My hope is that my actions will encourage others to reaffirm their commitment to Gettysburg College and to the continuing relevance and importance of a liberal arts education in an increasingly fast-changing and complex world,” Wallach said. “The steps that we’re putting in place with the Gettysburg Approach should prepare our students to achieve success in that environment, to give back to their communities, to give back to the College, and to share their knowledge and experiences with future Gettysburgians.”
Learn how you can support Gettysburg College’s mission to teach our students how to make an impact and build a better world.
By Corey Jewart
Photos by Casey Martin Photography and Miranda Harple