Mom's Final Gift: A Letter from the Son of a Grateful Alumna

October 2018

Hello,

My mother Betty Gloudeman Scharfenberger ’46 passed away April 22, 2017.  She named your university in her will as a beneficiary.  The enclosed check is to fulfill her request.

I wanted to let you know how much your school and community meant to her over the years.  The education she received from your school became the foundation she needed to start in the business world.  Then after being sidetracked by a man and starting a family, she returned to school in Milwaukee for her teaching accreditation and then on to decades of teaching in the City of Milwaukee.

It is interesting how certain things can run consistent through our lives, and Dominican was one of those things for my Mom.  After retiring she was very active but always planned her life around her college reunions. She stayed in contact with numerous school friends and that always meant so much to her. Even as time marched on, Mom made it clear that my sister or I would have to make sure she would get to the reunions. 

I know Mom felt that her success in life was tied to the start she was given at Dominican.  So she wanted to be sure to give back one more time.  Please use the donation to help other students to get their start at your fine school.

Sincerely,

Dave Scharfenberger

Betty Gloudeman Scharfenberger’s ’46 bequest, like so many others, will help our students get their much-deserved start in life. If you have included Dominican in your estate plan, we encourage you to let us know so that we can thank and recognize you as a member of the Mazzuchelli Heritage Society and as a donor to the Powerful Promise Campaign. If you wish to speak with someone about making a future gift to Dominican, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at 708-524-6303 or giftplanning@dom.edu.

Pier C. Borra & Renee A. Borra ’64

July 2018

Pier C. Borra & Renee A. Borra ’64 pursue their own special brand of caritas et veritas. They focus the philanthropy of the Borra Family Foundation on equipping students with new capacities for future success. Their generous gift to help fund the College of Health Sciences is doing the same for Dominican Itself.

Where does your philanthropic motivation come from?
We grew up in families of modest means, but we saw our parents constantly volunteering and making a difference. We were both brought up to be generous when we saw an important cause.

What is that “important cause” for you?
We value self-reliance and striving to better one’s circumstances. That’s why education is important to us -– it helps people get jobs., be independent and contribute to society. Our reward is knowing that our efforts will make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Why Dominican?
We like to focus on education that brings people practical opportunities for persons to advance. We’ve provided support to help students at community colleges., for example, and found it very rewarding. Then we discovered the nursing program at Dominican and realized how powerful it could be in bringing jobs and a higher quality of life to so many people who hadn’t had such opportunities before.

So giving at Dominican represented an investment for you?
Some people look at philanthropy as giving to an organization to help it meet its needs. We take a different view. Donors like us have a goal in mind, then seek an organizational partner who can help them achieve it. We saw giving to Dominican as a way to achieve outcomes that were important to us.

Have you been pleased with the results?
Because the university has a small endowment, it relies on generous friends to innovate and grow. Philanthropy is highly valued at Dominican, so a contribution here has a bigger impact than it might somewhere else.

Would you recommend Dominican to others who invest philanthropically?
Donna Carroll has a remarkable ability to implement a growth strategy. We’ve worked with lots of startups, and we were extremely impressed with the university’s ability to build an accredited nursing program in such a short period of time.

What device would you offer to those considering a campaign gift to Dominican?
Look for giving opportunities that suit your interests but also enhance the long-term vitality of the university. Working with Dominican has been very satisfying for us. The College of Health Sciences will launch students into careers that many of them might only have dreamt of, and it feels good to know that the college provides more financial stability for the university and advance its mission. It’s a win for everyone.

Mark Carroll - Dominican University Trustee

July 2018

Powerful Promise has provided an endowment to perpetually fund the new Norman and Ruth Carroll Endowed Chair in Business and Economics. The late Norm Carroll was an academic visionary, a long time provost of the university and the founding dean of the Brennan School of Business. Ruth Carroll, his wife of 52 years, is a retired Trinity High School Teacher and a revered member of the university community. Here, the couple’s son Mark, a university trustee, reflects on his lifelong Dominican experience and on the value of the new chair.

“I can’t think of a time when Dominican University wasn’t part of my life. My dad started as a young economics professor in 1963. We grew up two blocks away, and he had us on campus all the time, visiting his office, playing in the gym, learning from the sisters.

“Later, I began to fully appreciate what the place meant to him, and vice versa. He was such a blend of professor and entrepreneur. He loved teaching, but also was always thinking about where the institution would be 30 years down the road. It was his idea to start an MBA program that would emphasize international business. He knew the importance of the global economy, and understood how much students would grow from studying abroad. He built Dominican’s partnerships with universities worldwide. The students in Dominican’s international program are his legacy.

“Why international business, and why study abroad? I think my dad would agree that once you experience a culture in person, it’s hard not to like the people, and it becomes more difficult to think your way is the only way. The experience makes you truly open to learning. What could better express caritas et veritas … love and truth?

“My dad would be humbled and thrilled to learn about this chair. An endowed chair does more than just fund a faculty position; it declares the university’s permanent commitment to an academic discipline--- in this case, international business. The Carroll Chair embodies my dad’s wishes for Dominican. It also serves as an example of how donors can express their values through what they choose to support at the university. We are all stewards of Dominican, and I feel privileged to be a trustee at this pivotal time.”

Dr. Irene Pruitt Little - Mother of Christopher Little ’91

July 2018

“Back home in Alabama, my dad, a sharecropper, always told us seven children that education was the path to success. Now I see supporting scholarships as a personal obligation --- except for my doctorate degree, my schooling and that of my children was paid for by scholarships or grants.

“My son, Christopher ’91, was sought by prestigious national universities, but he deeply loved Dominican --- the sisters, the campus, his professors. When he died just a few years after law school, I learned why he loved the place.

“Dominican is helping so many bright students who don’t have the means for college. So, in Christopher’s memory, I started an endowed scholarship and a grant fund to help students pay tuition and meet incidental financial needs that could otherwise hold them back.

These students have shown their appreciation, and I am delighted to watch them move, well prepared, to graduate school and the working world.”

Eileen Willenborg, JD - Class of 1969

July 2018

“I saw funding scholarships at Dominican as a great way to pass on the invaluable life lessons I learned at Rosary College. I named one scholarship for my parents, who were great believers in the power of education and who made my education possible, and the other for my late sister, who was a strong advocate for Native American rights.

“Education and social justice are important to me, and it’s at Rosary College where that awareness really came alive. Those values were apparent in the living examples of the sisters, the lay faculty, and my classmates, and they set my life in a new direction.

“Now, after a law degree and a long career advocating for workers’ rights through unions, it’s very satisfying to circle back and take action to make sure ideals like these get handed on to new generations. With the scholarships I funded, I feel like I’m not only honoring my parents and sister, but also buying a little of the future."

Felice Maciejewski - Dominican University Librarian

July 2018

“Agreeing to co-chair the Powerful Promise faculty staff campaign was a no-brainer. Working on campus, I get to see where my contribution is going every day. I love our students. They’re so engaged and have such big hearts. They’re going to be great citizens and leaders of the world--- they just need a little help. They deserve it and, frankly, the university deserves it. We want to be the best Catholic university around.

“Alumnae/i give because they’re grateful; for those who work here, it’s about being part of a community. The sisters laid the foundation; today, we’re inheriting their legacy. Keeping that foundation strong is absolutely part of my job. And if that means giving a little money out of every paycheck, it warms my heart.”

Clare “Sistie” Doherty ’58 & Dr. Eugene McEnery - ‘Where people find peace of soul’

July 2018

“We always loved the Grotto as a place for reflection. A few years ago we noticed that it needed some attention. We mentioned it, and Dominican heard us. The idea of restoring the Grotto took root on campus and we were delighted to contribute to the project. And we were so honored when they named part of the space “Sistie’s garden.” This Beautiful corner of the campus has been reborn as a spot where people find peace of soul and spiritual awakening.”

Bronwyn McDaniel ’01 - Ten-year donor to the Annual Fund for Dominican

July 2018

“When I make my annual fund gift, I sometimes think about college memories, but I’m usually more focused on the future. So many great things are happening at Dominican right now! It’s clear that this institution knows where it wants to go, and has an upward trajectory that’s just incredible. My contribution is my vote of confidence in that future. I valued my time at the university, and I want others to have the experience I had --- or better. For me giving is personal: I know that Dominican will do something great with my contribution.”

Elizabeth Encisco ’18 - Chair of the 2018 Senior Class Gift Challenge

July 2018

“When I started my campus job in University Advancement as a freshman, I didn’t even know what a ‘Phonathon’ was. At first, spending three hours a day calling alumnae/i and asking them for contributions was pretty hard for a shy person like me. But it got easier, I’m only attending Dominican because of the scholarships and gifts that donors gave. That fact made it possible for me to talk about how important their donations are for so many students. Before I graduated in May, I chaired the campaign for the Senior Class gift, and we set a record for student participation and amount raised. These days, making the case for Dominican comes naturally to me. I don’t think my freshman self would even recognize me now!”

Bequest from Joan Cain ’51 Opens New Doors for Dominican Students

March 2018

Morganne Schmidt, a native of West Dundee, Illinois, reflects that she “had never been out of the country, never experienced a different culture, never even seen the ocean” before coming to Dominican. Today she can say she has broadened her horizons as part of her undergraduate experience—thanks to the generous bequest of Rosary College alumna Joan Cain ’51.

After graduating from Rosary, Ms. Cain made a career as a college professor in Louisiana. When she passed away in 2013, her bequest established a new initiative at Dominican—the Excellence in Experiential Learning (ExcEL) Scholar Award program. ExcEL enables Dominican students to incorporate hands-on experiences, beyond the classroom, into their Dominican education. For Morganne Schmidt, ExcEL funds enabled her to travel to Italy and study in Rome.

Ms. Cain’s bequest provides awards of up to $2,000 for students who wish to pursue an internship, community-based learning class, independent research, study abroad, or an entrepreneurial project.

“These experiences can be difficult for many students to afford because of the financial contingencies in their lives,” says Paul Simpson, executive director of Dominican’s Academic Enrichment Center. “Ms. Cain’s generous bequest allows us to make their hopes become real experiences.”

Morganne is now a senior, preparing to graduate with a double major in chemistry and food applications. During her time in Rome, however, she studied Baroque and Renaissance art and architecture.

“As a science major, I really wanted to go and learn about something completely outside of chemistry and food science,” she says. “Going to Rome allowed me to appreciate creativity and passion, and it inspired me to bring those qualities to my future career.”

Vivian Jackson ’60 Gives in the Present and for the Future

September 2017

Dr. Vivian (Ivery) Jackson ’60 grew up on Chicago’s West Side attending public schools. She originally planned on going to community college and becoming a teacher. Her high school French teacher, Ms. Olive Mazurek—a 1929 graduate of Rosary College—encouraged her to focus her sights on a high-caliber college education. She went so far as to make an appointment for Vivian to meet with Sister Mary Fredericus, then president of Rosary. “I would not have attended Rosary without their encouragement and support,” says Vivian.

After graduating from Rosary with her BA in history, Vivian earned her MA in educational administration and a PhD in counselor education and enjoyed a long and fruitful career in educational administration.

Now retired, Vivian recently informed Dominican that she has included the university in her estate plan. She realized “that I might want to give a portion of my bequest now, while I’m able to see the impact of my giving,” she says. “Taking advantage of the IRA charitable rollover allowed me to begin an endowed scholarship in my lifetime.” The Vivian Ivery Jackson Endowed Scholarship will provide assistance for traditionally underrepresented minorities demonstrating academic promise and financial need. “Because I made the gift directly from my IRA, I was able to take my annual required minimum tax-free,” she says.

“The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to appreciate what an important, lifelong impact my years at Rosary have had on me—both personally and professionally,” she says. “I also just wanted to give back for all that I’d been given.”

Vivian encourages fellow alumnae/i to consider “their Rosary experience and the impact it had on so many aspects of their lives, the school’s long commitment to educational excellence and the liberal arts, and,” she emphasizes, “the obligation of all of us to give to those in need.”

Lois Dittus ’59 Has a Plan for Dominican’s Future

April 2017

Lois Dittus ’59 has been deeply involved with Rosary College and Dominican University from her days as a student through her years as an alumna. Her experiences, along with those of her husband, fueled the couple’s decision to include Dominican in their estate plan. Dominican will receive a future gift of the remainder of the Dittuses’ TIAA-CREF retirement account.

Lois did not begin her college education at Rosary; she arrived as a transfer student in the middle of her sophomore year. As Lois recalls, “I had a good friend whose sister was a friend of Sr. Thomasine Cusack,” the longtime professor and chair of the economics department, “and she suggested I look at Rosary College.” When reflecting on her decision to attend Rosary, Lois notes that “Sr. Thomasine and [former dean of students] Sr. Fredericus were very persuasive!”

After graduating, she worked for a time in the Admissions Office and served on the alumni council. On the occasion of her 50th class reunion, Lois was a leader in raising funds to establish the Class of 1959 Endowed Scholarship. She and her husband Bob have been married for 57 years. They have two children and now live outside of Milwaukee in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

“Rosary College instilled in me intellectual curiosity and a great respect for women who were intellectual ‘giants,’ ” says Lois. Her sense of gratitude, coupled with Bob’s perspective as a retired administrator at another private liberal arts college, explains the value they place on “the great importance of access to education.”

They chose their retirement account as the vehicle for their gift because of the tax advantages. Family members have to pay income tax when inheriting most retirement funds, whereas nonprofits do not pay taxes. Retirement-plan designations are considered one of the “simple” ways to make a charitable gift.

“We want to help the university continue to attract quality students,” affirms Lois, “regardless of financial ability.”

Ric Calabrese - Retired Dominican University Professor

October 2016

Professor Richard (Ric) Calabrese’s connections to Dominican University span his entire career—and the better part of his life. From first setting foot on the campus of Rosary College in 1967 until today, he would have it no other way.

He was 25 years old, with two master’s degrees to his credit and on his way to earning a doctorate, when he accepted the position at Rosary to teach courses in the departments of both English and Communications. “When I started at Rosary,” he recalls, “there were only a handful of lay faculty here, the majority of the faculty and staff were sisters. But the culture was palpable – within a few weeks, I was so taken with the Caritas of this place. The sisters, they never just said good morning to you. They said good morning, they gave you a hug, they asked about your weekend, they truly cared about you.”

It was not only the sisters with whom Ric felt an immediate connection – it was also the students. Then, as now, many of his students were the first members of their family to go to college. “Dominican is great at helping first-generation students,” Ric reflects. “I was a first-generation student, so I could relate to and work with these students. I realized I could not only teach them, but also be a mentor to them.”

Now in his 50th year at Dominican University, Ric has become a leader among the university community, serving on multiple committees, including the board of trustees, and as the first Marshall of the University. He has been honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Distinguished Service Professorship. Ric’s influence has extended far beyond our River Forest campus. He has participated in international service trips with students to Mexico and El Salvador, and taught in France, Poland, and India.

All good things must come to an end, however. At the conclusion of the current academic year, Ric will retire. To continue his legacy, his will includes a provision for a gift to Dominican in support of scholarships for first-generation students. Even though the number of Sinsinawa Dominican sisters on campus has declined over the years, Ric feels that the culture they created still remains. Asked why he chose to include a gift to Dominican in his estate plans, Ric says, “It was a natural inclination. It has to be something you do out of love. I came to Dominican because of the mission. I stayed because it never felt like work. I am going to be 75 this year. I have spent two-thirds of my life here. This is home."

Jeff Goldone ’80 and Russina Rusev Grady ’81

May 2016

Jeff Goldone 80 and Russina Rusev Grady 81 met on Labor Day 1977 – their first day at Rosary College. They both fondly remember spending their first night on campus talking in Coughlin Hall with a small group of new friends. Hours later, they watched the sunrise together from Coughlin Lounge, not knowing that the friendships formed that first day would continue nearly 40 years later.

Fast forward back to campus in June 2015 when Jeff and Russina attended the opening reception at Alumnae/i Weekend. As Russina recalls, “When I noticed the Mazzuchelli Heritage Society ribbon attached to Jeff’s nametag, I asked him what it meant. He told me he was a member of the Heritage Society because Dominican University was in his will. I told him I was a member then, too, but I hadn’t informed the university yet! My husband and I had added Dominican to our will when we created our trust.” After learning that Jeff was being recognized as a member of the Mazzuchelli Heritage Society because he had made Dominican aware of his planned gift, Russina was inspired to do the same.

Three and a half decades after their initial conversation, Jeff and Russina are happy knowing that by including Dominican in their estate plans, they are allowing future generations of students to receive the same opportunity-rich education they did so many years ago. “Rosary was where I wanted to pursue my college education, but I was 100% dependent on scholarships. This was an opportunity given to me, and I believe it’s my role to provide a similar opportunity to future Dominican students,” says Russina. Jeff agrees, noting “if I can provide a financial means for someone to get an outstanding college education more easily, then I feel I’m making a meaningful difference in someone’s future--and in the future of our society.”

Jeff and Russina both feel that their time spent at Rosary ultimately played a significant part in shaping their personal and professional lives. In 2014 Jeff launched his own consulting firm focused on dining services and training, and is currently preparing to become a deacon in his church. “Dominican played a key role in making me successful professionally,” he says, “as well as molding me into a humble and caring human being in my private life.” For Russina, working in global travel management for 30 years enabled her to use many of the skills she learned while pursuing majors in French Studies, international business and economics. Now as a member of the Donor Services team at the Lions Club International Foundation, she reflects on her years as a student: “Rosary was the first place where I really felt encouraged to achieve whatever I dreamed to do. It was also where I met some of my dearest lifelong friends, and for that, I will always be truly grateful. Making a gift to Dominican through my estate seemed like the right thing to do. I was inspired by Jeff to tell Dominican about my gift, and I hope I can inspire others to do the same."

Lois MacDonald Simms ’51

November 2015

In the mid-2000’s Lois inherited stock from her aunt which was soon to be sold to a much larger company. Wanting to avoid the capital gains tax, she made a decision to establish a Charitable Gift Annuity at Dominican University. Lois avoided paying capital gains on the donated stock and by making a charitable gift, she received a partial tax deduction during the year in which her gift was made and receives a guaranteed income stream for the remainder of her life.

“This was an opportunity to make a major gift to my alma mater, receive a tax deduction, and an excellent stream of income from Dominican. It was a perfect gift vehicle for me at the time.” Born on October 29, 1929, Lois MacDonald Simms ’51 grew up on Chicago’s Northwest side in a close-knit family that included her parents, Donald and Theresa, and her younger brother, Donald. Her mother’s sisters, Hattie and Alice, and brother, Frank, lived nearby. Being a child of The Great Depression, Lois remembers her father being out of work for years, and her mother scrimping and saving to buy a loaf of bread. Despite their difficulties, she never felt deprived. She was educated by the Benedictines at St. Hilary and St. Scholastica, thanks in part to Aunt Hattie’s largesse, and always felt loved and well-cared for.

When it came time to choose a college, Rosary College’s offer of a scholarship made the decision an easy one. Lois majored in Spanish and says her passion for travel was instilled in her by Sr. Sheila Treston and Sr. Thomasine Cusack. Upon graduation, she took the Foreign Service Clerk’s test and passed. Her first post was in La Paz, Bolivia, but it was cut short by a family tragedy: her brother fell from a tree and died shortly thereafter. After only six months in La Paz, she came home to be with her family.

Her next job was with Pan Am, and after that, the State Department. She lived in Virginia for many years, and it was there that she became involved with Rosary College as an alumna, working with Rosary staff, planning alumnae events, and representing Rosary at East Coast gatherings. She has attended all but one of her class Reunions since she graduated in 1951.

“Rosary College offered me a scholarship at a time when my family could not have paid for a college education for me. I am forever indebted to Dominican, because my education enabled me to work, travel, and live a wonderful life. I am delighted to have made this gift to my beloved alma mater.”

For more information about receiving an individualized Charitable Gift Annuity illustration, or to discuss other related questions you may have on this option, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at giftplanning@dom.edu or (708) 524-6283.

Carolyn Chawla - Retired Rosary College Professor

May 2015

When asked what inspired her to make a provision in her will for Dominican, Carolyn Chawla replied, “It tickles me pink to think I could be ‘teaching’ even after I’m gone.”

The fourth generation of educators in her family, Ms. Chawla is passionate about her commitment to supporting education through this bequest. “As a longtime faculty member at Rosary College, I was part of a community of Sisters, students, faculty and staff, whose shared objective was to teach and learn in the context of Caritas et Veritas.”

Carolyn was born in England, and lived in Jamaica and Puerto Rico before moving to the United States for graduate studies at Penn State. It was at Penn where she met her husband, Tilak, who shared her passion for education. They moved to the western suburbs of Chicago in 1969 when Carolyn was offered a position on the faculty at Rosary. She founded the Fashion and Merchandising program, and ultimately became an academic advisor while continuing to teach.

Carolyn speaks of the warm welcome she received from the Sisters during her tenure, mentioning Sr. Clemente Davlin, Sr. Melissa Waters and Sr. Candida Lund as special friends. She remains in touch with many of her former students, following their careers and lives with interest and enthusiasm.

To honor the passion that her husband and parents, Ian and Jesse Mackay, shared for education, Carolyn will use funds from an IRA to create two scholarships in their memory. Not only will students studying in the areas of pre-med, math and technology benefit from her generosity, but Carolyn will also reduce the amount of income taxes to her estate.

Revealing her British heritage, Carolyn says, “I am utterly chuffed that I am able to impact the lives of students at Dominican University. It was such a wonderful part of my life and I’m delighted to give back in this way."

If you think that a gift of retirement plan assets might be right for you, or if you want to talk about other tax advantageous options for charitable giving, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at giftplanning@dom.edu or (708) 524-6283.