Dr. Hans Houshower
Vice president for advancement
Bettering the World with Resilient Hearts
My maternal grandmother, Olga Kennel Berky, was the 1918 May Day queen. She and her classmates graduated into a world of great uncertainty with World War I still raging and the Spanish Flu on the rise. During the summer of 1918, her future husband, Bluffton professor H.W. Berky, was serving as a U.S. Army scientist researching antidotes to chemical warfare. In fall 1918, Bluffton students were quarantined on campus and limited to small classes with other activities, including chapel suspended. They created a new version of the alma mater, “Hail to Thee Dear Influenza” and the college continued to educate students.
Fast forward to World War II. While there was no pandemic disease this time, Bluffton students, faculty and graduates faced life altering decisions. Some chose alternative services. Others, like my father, Mark Houshower ‘42, entered military service. As a German speaker, my father interviewed survivors of several concentration camps, experiences that profoundly influenced his life including professional choices to serve others as an educator and pastor.
As part of our virtual Month of May Day program, Gail Wassem Rose, the 50th year reunion class speaker, reflected on the uncertainty of graduating during the Vietnam War years when classmates waited on the announcement of draft lottery numbers to determine future plans. Graduates of 1970 faced uncertainties that, while different than today’s, were daunting in their time.
The good news is that for more than a century, Bluffton alumni including those of the Class of 2020, have graduated with the resilient hearts they need to navigate a world with unexpected challenges and to serve others in their communities and across the world.
During this time, as we prepare to educate new and returning students next fall, I would ask you to consider making a gift to the Bluffton Fund. Thanks to the very generous support of a Bluffton alumnus, all Bluffton Fund gifts through June 30, will be matched dollar for dollar up to $150,000. With this matching opportunity, your gift of any size will make a huge difference for our students and plans for the 2020-21 academic year.
With this matching opportunity, your gift of any size will make a huge difference for our students and plans for the 2020-21 academic year. Thank you for your prayers and support for Bluffton’s mission, programs and students.
Support the Bluffton Fund
Phone: 419-358-3269, April Sybert, donor relations manager
Mail: Send checks to
Bluffton University, Development Office
1 University Dr., Bluffton, OH 45817
Write Bluffton Fund in the memo line