Jerry Gervais, '52
Providing support for future Albion students
Why I chose to go to Albion? Only one reason—football! I knew very little about college, but I did know about sports. No one in my family had graduated from high school, let alone go on to higher education.
Thanks to the GI Bill, I was able to continue my schooling. Coming from a small Catholic school in Detroit, I was not exposed to as diverse an education as many of my fellow classmates at Albion. I arrived with hopes of making the football team, which I did. I also made the baseball team, and was able to letter in both sports all four years. However, I never expected the high level of study I would be required to complete. Never having done a term paper, I had never heard of a bibliography—I had to settle down and study more than I had anticipated.
After graduating, I became a teacher and coach, then a secondary principal. Thirty-five years in a school system made me more appreciative of my excellent education at Albion. For sixty years I have been impressed with Albion’s faculty and staff. To see the results of what has been achieved by graduates is amazing. Just read the Io Triumphe!
Why do I support the Albion scholastic program? If I had not had financial help in 1948, I would never have gone to college. For that reason, we are in the Stockwell Society, which allows me to leave, in my will, funding for future Albion students. I also support both the Scholarship Fund and baseball team annually. Since Albion is private and receives no state or federal funds, donations from alumni are key to the school’s success. Because of my own accomplishments, I feel helping other young people to get a higher level of education is extremely important in achieving their life goals.
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Class of 2001
Class of 2001, Cereal City Grill, Holiday Inn, Battle Creek
Chair: Nate Rohde
Who is coming back?
Nicholas Bachand, '01
Katy Clay, '01
Nicole VanLare Gitler,'01
Brie Johnson Goubeaux,'01
Yvette Girard Lavelle,'01
Melissa Beatty Lewis, '01
Aubrey Thornton Martinson,'01
Chelsea Hagler Mills,'01
Rebecca Naglik Northway,'01
Melissa Hall Palmer,'01
Sarah Prieto Petersen,'01
Kimberly Zuhlke Stelma,'01
Laura Bair Swain,'01
Valerie Skaleski Weeks,'01
Jack Ludington, '51
Leaving a legacy through an endowment gift
The late John S. “Jack” Ludington, ’51, had a long history of giving back to Albion College. From serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors to chairing the Albion College Board of Trustees to acting as an Albion ambassador in his hometown of Midland, he was all that you could ask for in an alumnus. Not only was he a devoted volunteer for Albion, but he was a generous donor, supporting numerous building campaigns and establishing an endowed professorship that now bears his name.
It’s not surprising, then, that in the last days of his life Ludington, who was chairman emeritus of Dow Corning Corporation, chose to make one final gift to Albion, this time an undesignated gift to the College’s endowment. As such, his gift will be invested as part of the endowment, and a portion of the income generated will be used in support of the teaching and learning that are at the heart of the Albion experience.
Laura Ludington Hollenbeck, ’78, and Annie Ludington Sullivan, ’82, note that their father believed this gift was the best way for him to help secure Albion’s future.
“My dad always spoke so affectionately of Albion,” Laura says. “He valued the professors he had there and felt his Albion education made possible much of what he achieved in his career. He just knew that he wanted to make one last gift that would make possible those same kinds of experiences for other young people in the years ahead.”
Because endowment funds are invested in perpetuity, they provide a constant, dependable source of income for an institution. At Albion, endowment income helps bridge the gap between what students pay in tuition and the actual cost of their education. No student pays the full cost of his or her education.
Albion’s endowment income currently represents 14 percent of the annual operating budget. These funds support students, directly through scholarships and indirectly through the support of programs, both academic and co-curricular. They support faculty research and professional development, our Institutes and athletic programs, and every activity on campus at some level. According to Mike Frandsen, vice president for finance and administration, “Without the endowment, Albion would not be the institution we know today, and it would not be as well positioned to provide opportunities for future generations.”
Albion’s endowment is currently a healthy $168-million, making it the second largest among private colleges and universities in Michigan, according to figures from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). However, among the members of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, Albion’s endowment is relatively small, with Oberlin College having the largest in that group at nearly five times the value of Albion’s endowment. The College ranks 177th nationally among the 508 private institutions that participated in the NACUBO survey.
The College’s endowment has been built over time through careful stewardship and through charitable gifts. A key goal for the future is to continue this pattern of growth.
“A strong endowment enables an institution to change with the times,” notes President Donna Randall, “and to capitalize on emerging trends. By increasing Albion’s endowment through gifts such as this one from Jack Ludington, we can give the College this much-needed flexibility.”
Jack’s son, Tom Ludington, ’76, is now himself a College trustee and chairs the board’s Finance Committee.
“Dad was able to foresee many of the headwinds that private liberal arts colleges like Albion College would face,” Tom says, “particularly institutions that have traditionally served students from Michigan families. He believed that building Albion’s endowment would be critical to the College’s success in moderating tuition demands on students but also maintaining competitive faculty and staff compensation, a belief shared by the current Board of Trustees. We will put his gift to good use.”
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Sally Stark Cutler, '75
Underwriting a new space for creative learning
As an Albion College student, Sally Stark Cutler, ’75, prepared to be a teacher. And now, living in Gates Mills, Ohio near Cleveland, education remains a common thread in her activities and interests. For several years she headed a non-profit board supporting the Cleveland School of the Arts, a magnet school for inner-city youth, and at the same time she chaired the board for a social services agency that provides job training for people who have disabilities or economic challenges. She is currently a board vice president for the Cleveland Museum of Art, which offers extensive public outreach and educational programming.
Education is central to the philanthropic interests she shares with her husband, Sandy Cutler, chairman and chief executive officer of Eaton Corporation. That commitment recently led them to make a leadership gift creating the new Cutler Commons in Albion’s Stockwell Library. The Cutler Commons, part of a larger renovation plan for the Albion College library complex, has been designed with today’s student in mind, providing spaces geared to group study and team projects, all supported by the latest technology. The new space will also offer a one-stop service desk and a café catering to the campus community and visitors alike.
“The possibilities that we saw in this concept—especially the fact that it makes technology instantly accessible—struck a chord with both of us,” Sally says. “Libraries are changing, with constantly advancing technology for locating and presenting information. If Albion is to remain competitive, the library needs to keep up with these trends. Sandy and I are pleased that we can help make this happen at Albion.”
She adds, “I was also intrigued with the lifelong learning aspect of this project. The library will be a more inviting place to be for everyone, including alumni and area residents.”
A Milwaukee native, Sally says she felt at home at Albion the moment she stepped on campus during her college search. “It had a great feel—I liked that it was a manageable size.” Though she admits she was never a “diehard student,” she appreciates that Albion’s faculty challenged her to grow academically. In an English class, focusing on works from classical Greece through the European Middle Ages, she recalls she was pushed to think in ways she never had before. “I had to really work hard in that class,” she says with a smile.
Her college experience also instilled a sense of responsibility for helping others, she observes. “That was the heart of what Albion was all about.” An active student volunteer during her college days, she has since given her time to numerous projects in the greater Cleveland area, among them the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which recently has saved over 23,000 acres of land from further development in northeast Ohio. “I like wide open spaces,” she explains, noting that natural areas need to be preserved now for future generations to enjoy.
Albion gave her a broad network of friends, she says, and some of those friendships have lasted to this day. “It’s hard for me to believe that I’m being invited to the weddings of my friends’ children. It seems to me that we were the ones who were just getting married. I feel fortunate that I still stay in touch with friends I met on my very first day as a freshman on campus.”
Sally currently serves as an enrollment volunteer, sharing her Albion experience with future students, and she and Sandy also made a major gift in support of the College’s science complex renovation and expansion project several years ago.
She reflects, “Although it’s been said often, Sandy and I believe that it is remarkably true that giving back is one of life’s great privileges.”
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