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Ohio Wesleyan University Receives $6 Million in Estate Gifts
Faculty, Alumni Contributions Support Student Scholarships, Priority Projects

April 27, 2009

DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University today announced the receipt of $6 million in estate gifts from a former faculty member and four university graduates.

The faculty member’s bequest of more than $800,000 will be used to create the Richard W. Strasburg Endowed Music Merit Scholarship Fund in his memory. Strasburg scholarships will be awarded beginning in fall 2010 to first-year students majoring in music. Recipients will be eligible to renew the scholarships for three additional years.

An accomplished concert pianist, Strasburg taught at Ohio Wesleyan from 1956 until his retirement in 1983. In addition to holding degrees from Oberlin College, the University of Southern California, and Florida State University, Strasburg studied at Les Ecoles D’Art Americaines at Fontainebleau, France, and at Ecole Normale in Paris. A longtime resident of Delaware, Ohio, Strasburg died in April 2008.

“Richard Strasburg was an influential teacher for so many Ohio Wesleyan piano students and an incredibly gifted pianist,” said Cameron Bennett, D.M.A., chair of the OWU Department of Music. “His generous gift to fund a significant music merit scholarship highlights his devotion to Ohio Wesleyan. Future generations of talented music majors will benefit from this generous gift and ensure that Professor Strasburg’s legacy will live on at Sanborn Hall.”

Ohio Wesleyan also recently received a $3.1 million gift distribution from annuities donated by Peter D. Kleist, a 1940 university graduate and developer who built thousands of homes, hotels, offices, and industrial centers in Northeast Ohio and Southwest Florida. Kleist gave the annuities to Ohio Wesleyan in 2002 to support the renovation and construction of Schimmel/Conrades Science Center. The funds were received following his death on Feb. 12, 2009, in Fort Myers, Fla.

At Ohio Wesleyan, Kleist majored in economics and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He later served as Board of Trustees member and as a Life Trustee. He is survived by his wife and college sweetheart, Eleanore Pottman Kleist, also a 1940 OWU graduate.

The university also recently received estate gifts of more than $600,000 from Marcia Sigler of Eugene, Ore., and $500,000 from Jane Martin Sanders of Tulsa, Okla. Both gifts are unrestricted in their use.

Sigler, an English major and 1944 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, also earned a second undergraduate degree and a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She worked for many years as a librarian at the University of Oregon. Sigler died in February 2008.

Sanders, a journalism major and 1953 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, worked on The Transcript student newspaper while at Ohio Wesleyan and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and the Young Women’s Christian Association. She remained connected to the university throughout her life, especially enjoying her class reunions. Sanders died in June 2008.

Finally, Ohio Wesleyan received an additional $1 million from the estate of 1927 graduate Robert C. Manchester, M.D. The university previously received $6 million from Dr. Manchester’s estate in 2007.

His entire gift is being used to support the Ida Austin Manchester Scholarship Fund, which he and his sisters, Ohio Wesleyan graduates Winifred Manchester ’25 and Lois Manchester Mack ’30, established in memory of their mother, an 1896 university graduate. Dr. Manchester died January 2007 in Cupertino, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy.

“We are grateful for these expressions of affinity and loyalty to Ohio Wesleyan University, our students, and our mission,” said Rock Jones, Ph.D., president of the university. “The selfless commitment of these donors is both humbling and inspiring. They have set a remarkable example of giving and service for all of us.”

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.