Through a gift, one entrepreneur is making sure others have the same opportunities to innovate that he had.
“There are so many things that are part of business success, whether you’re running a business or focusing on being an engineer,” said O. Jack Anderson ’54. “I didn’t come to UD to be a marketing man or an accountant. I came here to be an engineer. But I found I needed to know about these issues for business success.”
Anderson, a business graduate, founded CAD/CAM Inc. in Dayton. For many years, the company offered an apprenticeship program in which students attended school while working at CAD/CAM nearly every workday. The program helped give students an understanding of business and entrepreneurship, Anderson said.
Now, he and his wife, Opal Anderson ’81, are enhancing a program named by a national foundation as “best-in-class in project-based engineering innovation education.” The Andersons’ gift of more than $600,000 will endow the O. Jack and Opal Anderson Faculty Fellowship in Engineering Innovation. The new fellow will lead the growing partnership between the School of Engineering and the School of Business Administration to prepare students to better design products for society. The position also will work to provide additional entrepreneurial and product design learning experiences Universitywide.
The Andersons have long believed in supporting education at the University of Dayton. In 2003, they provided $60,000 in seed money to launch innovation and design projects through the Design and Manufacturing Clinic, the predecessor to today’s Innovation Center. They have also supported service learning and community building through the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community.
Jack Anderson’s own time at UD exposed him to the business world, as he attended classes by day and worked as an apprentice toolmaker at night. He also earned an MBA from UD in 1965. Anderson represented small businesses on President Gerald Ford’s education committee to provide input on what students needed to be successful in industry after graduation.
“I’d like to see students have a broader, more entrepreneurial view of engineering or whatever business they go into,” he said.
The engineering innovation program addresses that. The endowed professor will enhance existing programs by coordinating with faculty from numerous disciplines to build on current successes — all intended to give students a better understanding of business and entrepreneurship. The Andersons hope this, in turn, will provide students with the kind of experiences they’ve had.
“Jack credits UD for allowing him to start a business and advance in the business world,” Opal Anderson said. “His UD education really opened up opportunities.”
One night last October, economics graduate Matt Lambiase ’88 awakened with UD on his mind. He sent an e-mail and asked, “Do you still have the Summer Appalachia Program?”
Yes, indeed, said Nick Cardilino, director of campus ministry’s Center for Social Concern. For the past 46 summers, campus ministry has sent up to 14 UD students to Salyersville, Ky., to run a youth day camp, staff a teen center, visit the elderly and grow in faith as they serve others in the Marianist tradition.
Students raise funds all year for their room and board while preparing academically, socially and spiritually for the nine-week experience, said Brother Tom Pieper, S.M., a campus minister who oversees the program.
Lambiase, president of Chimera Investment Corp. in New York City, sent a check the next day — enough to endow a scholarship fund and cover a portion of the program’s utilities, food and materials for the summer of 2011.
While work prevented Lambiase from joining the program as a student, he recognized its importance. “This is my way to participate now,” he said.
Pi Beta Phi is known for being an organization of firsts: the first national women’s fraternity and one of the founding members of the National Panhellenic Council. The most recent first comes from the University of Dayton’s own Ohio Iota Chapter: the Ebeling-Ross Pi Beta Phi Scholarship fund, the first scholarship endowment by a UD sorority.
When fully endowed at $25,000, the scholarship will benefit at least one sister each year who demonstrates Pi Phi values as modeled by the women who founded the Ohio Iota Chapter, Martha Ebeling and Lois Ross.
“Mrs. Ebeling and Mrs. Ross were chosen to be honored because of their outstanding leadership in the community, both locally and nationally, and because of their spirit of generosity — of their time, talent and treasure,” says Heidi Azaloff ‘94, chief of the scholarship endowment committee. “The endowed scholarship celebrates their qualities and encourages Pi Phis to always aim higher.”
The Dayton Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi matches each gift donated to the scholarship, up to $5,000. They expect to reach the endowment goal by June 2011 and award a sister a scholarship for the next academic year.
“The scholarship is a tremendous example to students of how they can give back and make a difference,” says Joan Schiml, director of annual giving.
Current sorority members hope the scholarship will continue to strengthen their ties.
“We consider ourselves sisters,” says Tonica Johnson ’12. “Having a scholarship to help those in need is a great way to secure that bond that we have with each other.”
For more information, visit http://www.supportUD.piphi.udayton.edu.
Without a surprise offer to help, Brittany Hughbanks wouldn’t even be attending the University of Dayton, let alone graduating in May with a degree in exercise science. Every year, Rick Pfleger ’77 and Claire Tierney Pfleger ’78, family friends from her hometown of Indianapolis, quietly write a check to cover part of her tuition after they learned UD was her top choice but her family couldn’t afford it.
“I’ll never forget that,” she says. “I always thought I’d go to Indiana or Purdue or somewhere close, but they made it possible to come here. They’re all good schools, but it’s not like here.”
Thanks to the couple’s generosity, future University of Dayton students will receive some extra help, too. They’ve just launched the Richard J. and Claire T. Pfleger Endowed Scholarship.
The couple also funded the renovation of The Hangar, a popular Kennedy Union gathering spot.
“We truly believe in stewardship and the concept of giving back the gifts that God has given us,” says Rick Pfleger, a University trustee and retired vice president for North American sales at Juniper Networks. “I believe God blessed us for a reason.”
Growing up in a devoutly Catholic family in a modest 900-square-foot home, Pfleger recalls his father pulling out a red metal box and dividing up his weekly paycheck, first setting aside money for the local parish, then groceries, then the house payment. The final compartment he reserved for entertainment.
“That’s the one I had my eye on,” he says, smiling. “There were many, many weeks when that box didn’t have anything in it. I remember watching my dad do this every week and learning from both my parents. They were super volunteers, both of them. They volunteered like it was their jobs.”
That’s why Pfleger gives back. He co-chaired a $110 million campaign for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, where he raised millions of dollars to help the less fortunate in central and southern Indiana. He also sponsored a project to put computers in all the inner-city Catholic schools in Indianapolis. He sits on the board of trustees for Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and recently completed his board term for the archdiocese’s Catholic Community Foundation.
The Pflegers also sponsor three students at Cathedral High School, where the couple helped underwrite a major expansion. Pfleger is very active in his local parish, Saint Simon the Apostle, where he has coached, led the stewardship team and served as an executive member of the advancement team.
“When it comes to charitable giving, one of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill: ‘We make a living by what we get, we make a lifetime by what we give,’” he says.
Pfleger met his wife, a special education graduate, and seven lifelong friends at UD. Daughter Lindsey followed in their footsteps and earned a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship and an MBA. He credits the school for giving him “a great education” and strengthening his character and values.
“What’s happened on this campus knocks your socks off,” he says. “Dan Curran has incredible vision — and looks out five to 10 years as well as anyone I know. People want to know they’re giving to something that’s moving upward. Seeing bricks and mortar is great, but I believe that long-lasting gifts of education are the best you can give.”