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June 24, 2016 : Sitterley Trusts Directed to Ohio University Will Support Scholarships for Fairfield and Hocking County Students

 

Lancaster, Ohio – At Ohio University Board of Trustees meeting on the Lancaster Campus, President Roderick J. McDavis announced that four charitable trusts created by Fairfield and Hocking County families – collectively totaling more than $5.1 million – are now held within The Ohio University Foundation’s endowment.

 

Trustee William J. Sitterley, a principal member at Sitterley, Vandervoort, and Davis in Lancaster, Ohio, and his wife Sally, trust administrator, recently transferred the trusts to The Foundation to provide Fairfield and Hocking County students attending Ohio University with scholarships, as well as to continue these families’ legacies into perpetuity.

“This is an incredible and significant gift that will benefit generations of future Bobcats, and we are so very grateful for their support,” said McDavis. “Thanks to the generosity of these families, lives will be transformed through an Ohio University education. The commitment these families have shown to students and to the pursuit of a college education also will have perpetual influence in their local communities. It is always humbling to witness the impact our vast network of OHIO alumni and friends has in shaping the future, but this gift directly shapes the futures of OHIO’s students, and, for that, we are appreciative to all involved.”

Sitterley, who served as a trustee of The Ohio University Foundation from 1990-99, had held these funds in trust for decades, distributing nearly $2.9 million in scholarship support that has helped hundreds of local students earn college degrees. Students each received an average of $5,000 in scholarship support annually. With the transfer of the funds to The Foundation, local students will continue to have access to these scholarships when they choose to attend any of Ohio University’s campuses.

 “The Sitterleys have helped make education possible for many students from Fairfield and Hocking Counties, and I am pleased the University will continue to award these scholarships through The Foundation,” said Jim Smith, dean of OHIO’s Lancaster Campus. “Historically, these funds have greatly reduced or eliminated out-of-pocket costs for students attending Ohio University Lancaster Pickerington. That approach will still be possible for area students to help us fulfill our mission of affordable and accessible education.”

Each trust has its own story and celebrates a family’s connection to the region and to its future.

Siblings Paul Bader and Ruth Bader lived in Liberty Township on a family farm near Baltimore, Ohio. Paul Bader worked as a field representative for the ASC (state agricultural) office and for the DeKalb Company. Ruth Bader worked as a chef at Shaw’s Restaurant & Inn in Lancaster, Ohio. Neither married. They chose to use the bulk of their estates to establish the Paul I. Bader and Ruth E. Bader Scholarship to benefit students from Liberty Union High School.

Mildred Herzberger and her husband, Carl, a career officer in the U.S. Army, lived a frugal life. Widowed and without children, Mildred Herzberger decided to dedicate a large portion of her estate to create the Mildred L. Herzberger Scholarship. The scholarship, according to trust documents, promotes the “education and welfare of the residents of Fairfield County.”

Alice Kindler was a master teacher who taught piano to countless Fairfield County children. Herself an accomplished pianist, she played in New York’s Carnegie Hall as a young woman. She never married and chose to leave the bulk of her estate to create the Alice Kindler Scholarship to support Fairfield County students.

William C. and Mildred K. Lehman were born and raised in Hocking County and married in 1963. Neither attended college. William Lehman began work as an electrician and spent most of his career as a route driver for 7-Up. Mildred Lehman worked for Travelers Insurance and Pharmacia Corp. The Lehman’s had no children and established the William C. and Mildred K. Lehman Scholarship to support Hocking and Fairfield County students.

Tyler Zwahlen earned the Lehman scholarship from 2013-16. He went to the Sitterleys’ home to interview for the scholarship and observed that “they devoted many hours during this process… After the interview, I thanked them and hoped for the best. I thought to myself ‘I will make you proud if I am awarded the scholarship.’”

The recent graduate earned his bachelor’s in pre-professional biology on April 30 and currently is enrolled in the master of physician assistant practice program on the University’s Dublin Campus. “It is my ultimate goal to be able to give back to the community in which I have lived all my life,” he said.  “Receiving this scholarship was such a blessing, and I am forever grateful that I was chosen.”

The idea to serve as trustee and to administer scholarships independently came naturally to the Sitterleys. Bill Sitterley’s father Kermit Charles Sitterley served as the sole trustee of the Charles Kilburger Trust and selected 648 students between 1970 and 1989 to receive college scholarships. That trust was turned over to The Ohio University Foundation in 1989 and continues to provide scholarships to Fairfield County students attending OHIO.

“The trusts we’ve stewarded over the years have provided the single largest source of scholarship support for students in the county,” said Bill Sitterley. “This unique effort to operate and distribute the trusts ourselves has allowed us to provide the community with real examples, to show people that ‘you can do this.’ All of these donors wanted to be part of something special and to provide a lot of people the chance to earn a college education. Sally and I are proud to have helped them do that.”

Scholarships housed within The Ohio University Foundation are awarded to students who show academic merit and to those who have financial need. On average about 4,000 Athens campus undergraduate students apply for scholarship funding each year and approximately 24 percent of them receive scholarship support. The Foundation’s endowed scholarships have made awards totaling $3.3 million and supporting 1,500 students each year for the past eight years.

“Scholarship endowments leave lasting legacies,” said Vice President for University Advancement and President and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation J. Bryan Benchoff. “Endowment resources are carefully invested in order to make funds available year after year in perpetuity. The result is financial support that helps students realize their dreams of a higher education. These endowments continue to grow over time and will meet future needs and provide for the next generation of OHIO students.”