Meet Our Donors
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
A walkway on campus will be designated O’Hair Walk in honor of a former student whose trust generated $3 million for DePauw.
Robert O’Hair established a trust before his death in 1989 that provided three decades of income for several of his family members. When the trust matured in 2019, it provided nearly $3 million in principal as an unrestricted gift to DePauw.
O’Hair attended DePauw Academy for high school students in the early 1900s and began his college work at DePauw University as a member of the Class of 1918. His academic career was interrupted by World War I, and he finished his degree at Indiana University.
An accomplished businessman in telephone communications and print journalism, O’Hair went on to become vice president of Greencastle’s Central National Bank. He was a founding member of Windy Hill Country Club and Cataract Yacht Club and was a world traveler who visited 139 countries, learning about other cultures and their business practices.
The O’Hair name is well known in the Greencastle and DePauw communities. O’Hair’s father, Robert L. O’Hair, attended DePauw from 1870-73. Both the father and O’Hair’s brother, Fred L. O’Hair, Class of 1910, were members of the Board of Trustees for many years. Two sisters, Amelia Pearl O’Hair, Class of 1905, and Mabel O’Hair Stephens, Class of 1907, also were among more than 20 members of the O’Hair family who attended DePauw.
With its unrestricted status, the gift was designated for stormwater infrastructure improvements and beautification to the areas adjacent to the Green Center for the Performing Arts and the Lilly Physical Education and Recreation Center.
Elgan Baker '71
Elgan Baker '71 has had a distinguished career in psychology. Writing and researching, teaching and practicing, Baker has spent over four decades helping others and working his way to the top of his profession as a psychoanalyst. His career has been impressive and commendable, and he will gladly tell you that it all began at DePauw.
Turning down offers from other well-known institutions, Baker came to DePauw from his native Lexington, Kentucky because of a few very important reasons. Among them, the warmth he felt from the campus, the vibrant Greek life at DePauw and the quality and accessibility of faculty. He has never regretted his decision. "I feel really enriched by the quality education I received," he explains. "And I really remember the people who touched my life."
That gratitude for his education and the overall DePauw experience has led Baker to a lifetime of involvement with the University. Among other activities, he has served on regional alumni boards, acted as a Winter Term sponsor and mentor, been a member of the alumni Greek advisory board and is currently on the Board of Visitors. He has even acted as a visiting professor at DePauw.
Baker's experience as a Rector Scholar also shaped his relationship to DePauw. Noting that he was "greatly helped" and "very honored" by his Rector Scholarship, he explains that from his college days onward it was his goal to repay that scholarship experience by assisting other students in need. "I never questioned putting DePauw in my will," he says. "I wanted to repay the wonderful education, the gift of leadership skills and the marvelous friendships I acquired at DePauw."
Having placed DePauw in his estate plan years ago, Baker made an increased commitment during The Campaign for DePauw, ensuring a DePauw education for future students. "I absolutely agree with DePauw's mission and believe in its importance in our world," he explains. Through his help and the help of countless other donors, that mission will remain, and that importance will grow.
David C. Johnson ’67
If there’s one thing Dave Johnson ’67 is an expert on, it is the financial needs of the modern American university. After a career dedicated to helping fund higher education — including work on six major campaigns at such schools as Cornell, the University of Virginia, Harvard, and the University of Richmond — he has a unique grasp on the financial issues facing higher education today.
Given that, it is worth noting that Johnson has added a charitable gift annuity (CGA), funded with appreciated securities, to his support of DePauw. He understands that planned gifts can make a meaningful difference in higher education today. “Planned giving through careful estate planning can really help places like DePauw,” he explains. “Most of us do not have huge estates, but as we mature and consider life's experiences that really mattered, we should provide for places like DePauw.”
Johnson, who joined Lambda Chi at DePauw, found a sense of family and community on campus. Due to his father’s career Johnson’s family moved quite often. DePauw provided a sense of home he had been lacking.
Now, as he returns for his 50th reunion, Johnson is intent on helping DePauw secure its future in a 21st century reality. In an age when public universities are growing and private institutions are meeting new challenges, he advocates for the kind of education only a place like DePauw can provide. “Today, very, very few can enjoy the tremendous benefits of a private education, one where the students are the absolute priority,” Johnson notes. “DePauw is one of a few universities that can provide this pivotal experience.”
In the long-run, planned giving can make the difference in keeping DePauw competitive for decades to come. Drawing upon his career experiences, Johnson notes that “Harvard's $36 billion endowment is — overwhelmingly — the result of folks who left less than $50,000 in their estate plans. It takes a village.”
Bob and Anne Lee
A sorority “kiss-in” the very first week of school provided the context for Bob Lee and Anne Self to meet. The couple, hailing from New York and Chicago, married the week after graduation in 1965. Their four years at DePauw were marked by meeting influential professors and building life-long friendships. Now, over half a century later, the couple gladly continues to give back to the University which has meant so much to them.
One son (Scott Lee ’92) and now one grandson (Ryan Horak ’19) have followed in Bob and Anne’s footsteps by attending DePauw. Seeing what DePauw had done for their child and grandchild especially spurred the Lees on to make a significant planned gift of appreciated stock through a Charitable Gift Annuity.
That gift, however, is merely one example of what Bob calls “moving from success to significance.” After a distinguished career in business, the Lees are now providing for others through active lives as volunteers and philanthropists.
Chief among these activities is RIDE for 3 Reasons, a cycling project to raise money for cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and hospice care. Bob has cycled 12,000 miles around the perimeter of the United States, raising $1.3 million for these causes. Now he and Anne are passing the torch to an 18 year old, Jan Gierlach, who will make a similar ride in 2017 — www.ridefor3reasons.org.
In addition to their annual support of the Fund for DePauw, the Lees made a CGA gift in 2015 to support future students on the campus. This not only changed but also redirected their lives. The gift, Bob notes, “not only provides a feeling of comfort financially, but also a feeling of warmth, knowing that we are helping DePauw.”
Bishop John L. Rabb ’66 and Sharon Freeman Rabb
John and Sharon Rabb have spent their lifetimes working for the betterment of society, through both their careers and their volunteerism. Therefore, going above and beyond to assist DePauw has come naturally to them.
“We believe passionately that higher education should be of the highest caliber,” notes John, a Chicago native who majored in history at DePauw. This passion has led the couple to many years of volunteer work on behalf of DePauw, not to mention leadership-level giving and now, a planned gift in their estate as well.
Rabb, who retired as bishop suffragan in the Maryland Diocese of the Episcopal Church, has worn many hats as a DePauw alumnus. After helping form an alumni group in his former home city of Atlanta, Rabb was invited to serve on the Alumni Board. He went on to co-chair the Washington C. DePauw Society Executive Committee. Most recently he served on the Class of 1966 50th reunion steering committee, and helped raise funds for his class reunion gift of more than $405,000 for The Fund for DePauw, as well as more than $6.3 million in other giving over five years. Rabb credits this as his most fulfilling alumni role. “We exceeded our goal, and had fun doing it.”
The Rabbs’ eldest daughter, Alison Rabb Lazar, also decided to attend DePauw, graduating in 2000. During her time on campus, Sharon Rabb took part in the Parents Council, a role that complemented her life’s work as a consultant for non-profits and institutions of higher learning.
In providing an estate gift designated toward scholarship assistance through The Fund for DePauw, the Rabbs will maintain their life legacy of giving of themselves for the benefit of others.
Frederick M. Green ’66 and Judy L. Green
Fred Green’s experience at DePauw was similar to that of many students. He pledged Delta Chi, delivered food for the Double Decker, took part in a student production of West Side Story, and held a seat in the student government.
Also like many students, Green’s four years at DePauw made a lasting impact. “DePauw was an important part of my life,” he states. “It gave me an education that helped me succeed in life.” The mathematics major (who credits such faculty as Professor Emeritus John E. “Jack” Morrill for providing him with a quality education) went on to have a career in actuarial consulting. Green’s son Roger went on to graduate from DePauw in 1989, and his granddaughter Emily is in the Class of 2019.
In addition to loyal annual support of DePauw, the Greens have designated DePauw as the beneficiary of a generous Individual Retirement Account (IRA) gift for the future. Their IRA gift is directed toward the DePauw Endowment, but otherwise is unrestricted.
IRA gifts to DePauw, whether current gifts for those required to take an annual minimum distribution, or beneficiary designation gifts, are easy to implement, make good tax sense, and truly benefit DePauw students. Please contact the Office of Legacy and Estate Planning to find out more about IRA giving.
Bill and Lori Graham
With his 50th reunion on the horizon, Bill Graham '62 started thinking about a special gift for DePauw in addition to his loyal Annual Fund giving. His wife Lori suggested that a gift to the Art Department might be a great fit for them as avid art collectors. Bill took the initiative and called the Office of Gift Planning at DePauw to inquire, "What can we do for the Art Department?"
When the proposal came back for a digital art studio using iMac computers, the Grahams knew that it was the perfect project for them. "We love Apple products," said Bill, "so this idea was exactly what we wanted to fund."
Bill and Lori decided to make the gift with an IRA rollover. "It was a very easy and efficient way to make our gift," said the Grahams. "The whole experience has been very special," added Lori. They have enjoyed receiving letters from the students who will benefit from their support. In fact, after their significant initial gift the Grahams made a second installment just three months later to finish off the project.
This meaningful investment truly helps move the Art Department into the future and allows the technology to keep up with the amazing vision and talent of the students here at DePauw.
Tom Porter '65
Perhaps it's no surprise that Tom S. Porter '65 has included a bequest in his will to support the Thomas S. Porter Fund for Excellence, a fund he established at DePauw in 2006.
Innovation and creativity fascinate the award-winning entrepreneur and investor, now an adjunct professor and executive in residence at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.
In 2005 Porter received the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence for his work with Detroit's Heidelberg Project. The project uses outdoor art to provoke thought, inspire action and heal urban communities.
The San Francisco native was the inaugural inductee to Eastern Michigan University's Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame and received several awards for his venture capital investing in healthcare technology. In 2001, Crain's Detroit Business named him among Michigan's Top 40 Technologists.
Porter, who has two children and two grandchildren, attributes much of his successful and rewarding career to DePauw. He had an "excellent" college experience, with Perk Allen (Accounting), Dr. Newton (Philosophy & Religion) and Dr. McCall (English) among the professors who influenced him.
"I believe my liberal arts education made it possible to adjust to, and capitalize on, the rapid change that has occurred during my lifetime," he said. "I received a terrific foundation."
Porter will ensure others receive that same foundation through his support of the Porter Fund for Excellence. The bequest and current gifts to DePauw encourage, reward and invest in innovative projects that move the University forward.
"As great an institution as DePauw is today, I wanted to provide some funds to help it become better," he said. "I established the Fund while I was still alive so I could choose how I, rather than my heirs, would give back to DePauw. I have the pleasure of remaining close to the school and enjoy watching my investment pay off while I am still alive." Porter currently serves on the DePauw Board of Visitors.
John and Nancy Null
When John S. Null '61 received the Rector Scholarship at DePauw, he joined a prestigious tradition — today, more than 4,000 graduates strong.
John received a full-tuition scholarship to DePauw, thanks to his overall academic achievement, high-school course curriculum and test scores. He earned a B.A. in psychology and met his wife, Nancy Spier Null '59, at a Delta Tau Delta/Kappa Kappa Gamma exchange at the Delt house in 1958. Nancy earned a B.A. in business education.
John later earned a law degree from Indiana University. He serves as vice president of the H.J. Spier Company, Inc., an independent insurance agency founded by his father-in-law in 1930.
Married for 50 years, John and Nancy have three children and ten grandchildren. The family is full of DePauw alumni: son John '85, vice president and treasurer of the H.J. Spier Company; brother-in-law Herbert J. Spier '62, vice president of H.J. Spier, and his wife Linda Lorton Spier '62; and niece Tracy Spier Osborn '86, owner and horticulturalist of Smiling Gardens.
"I very much appreciated my Rector Scholarship, and it's important to me to ensure that future DePauw students have the same opportunity I had," John said. He and Nancy funded a charitable gift annuity with non-dividend-paying stocks.
"Our philanthropic attitude is affected by the uncertainty of the estate tax code; it makes planning difficult," John said. "With the volatility of the market, converting a non-income asset into one that generates income has a strong appeal. With a charitable gift annuity, we benefit and so does DePauw."
Mike Wahl '53
Mike Wahl '53 spent his career sharing the world of geology with his students. After leaving DePauw he earned a Masters and Ph.D at the University of Illinois where he served as a professor for 13 years before leaving for the University of Florida where he led the Geology department. Mike then moved on to Colorado where he led the Geological Society of America until his retirement.
All those students, all those colleagues - but when Mike wanted to share his love of learning geology and honor his wife Dorothy '53 as well, he gave a major gift to DePauw to endow the Student Field Trip Assistance Program.
"My wife and I loved DePauw and were always impressed with the education and personal attention we received," said Mike. "When she passed away in 2003, what better way to express our appreciation and 'give back' than to do something lasting for future DePauw students."
"Geology is first and foremost a field science, for it teaches an understanding of the earth and its geologic features," said Mike. His career had allowed him to travel throughout the world, he said, and those experiences inspired him to want to "pass this opportunity on to DePauw students of generations to come."
Nearly sixty years after graduating, Mike Wahl still isn't done giving to DePauw. He plans to add to the endowment in coming years, so it can support students who travel to scientific meetings to present results of their own research.
Dr. Wahl created the F. Michael and Dorothy W. Wahl Endowed Fund for Geosciences Field Trips with a major gift and continues to support it through his annual giving and a planned estate gift.
Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. California residents: Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. Oklahoma residents: A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. South Dakota residents: Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.