A Special Bluffton Gift

By Dr. Hans Houshower,
vice president for advancement

Upon completion next fall, the Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education will recognize the service and campaign leadership gifts of Ted '41 and Jo (Conrad '44) Sommer and their sons, Steve '73 and Jim '68, along with Jim's wife Susan (Lehman '68) Sommer, all from central Illinois.

Beginning with the historic relationship of the Sommer Brothers Seed Co. business with Bluffton, the family has maintained an important and supportive relationship with the university as students, athletes, alumni and parents, and through volunteer The Sommer Familyservice and financial support. Ted served on the Board of Trustees from 1964-74, and Jim is a current trustee, having served since 2001. Both Steve and Jim were student athletes at Bluffton, and Jim is honored in the Athletics Hall of Fame. The Sommer family has played a leadership role in Extending Our Reach—The Campaign for Bluffton by providing the lead gift to the $14 million building project, the largest cash gift in Bluffton's history.

The fact that two generations of the Sommer family have joined together to make it possible for Bluffton to build a new facility, the highest priority in the university's master plan, is a reminder of the importance of families in sustaining Bluffton for today, tomorrow and future generations. I know you will join me in thanking the Sommer family for their leadership gift to the current campaign and for modeling a spirit of family generosity that serves as a model for all of us in considering ways we can support the organizations we love including Bluffton.

Families play an important role in shaping individual and shared attitudes for generosity. And, as we approach the end of the current fiscal year, I invite you and your family to consider ways you might share in giving to Bluffton. With the ongoing need for financial aid for Bluffton students, could this be the year that you and your family consider establishing a family scholarship fund? Have you and your family discussed your estate plan including provisions for charitable gifts to Bluffton? If not, I encourage you to make this a priority during 2012. I can think of no better mission to support than Bluffton's and I can think of no better way to maximize the impact of your gifts than to share in family generosity.

On behalf of the university community, we are grateful for the many alumni and friends who have provided volunteer and financial support this year and throughout the course of the campaign that concludes on June 30 with $32 million in gifts and pledges. I can assure you that Bluffton will invest all these gifts with great care in the lives of students who will graduate prepared for life and to make a difference in the world.

Thank you for your past, present and future support.

Visit us at www.bluffton.edu/giving/reach and learn more about ways you can help provide support for Bluffton's mission, programs and students as a member of the Bluffton family.