MAILED: Nov. 27, 2000
A couple with strong ties to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recently contributed more than $1 million of stock, the second largest gift ever, to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Inc.
This planned gift from Jan and Kathryn Ver Hagen, who currently live in St. Louis, ultimately will fund the Jan K. and Kathryn Fults Ver Hagen Chair of Education. The gift is a charitable remainder trust, which provides income to the Ver Hagens into the future. At a yet-to-be determined date, the Foundation will draw 5 percent per year to support the Chair of Education.
This is a wonderful gift for our university, Chancellor Donald Mash said. Our heritage as a teachers college remains an integral aspect of the universitys public service orientation today. An endowed chair in education will enable us to enhance an already strong teacher education program.
Katy, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1960 with a degree in elementary education, said it was a logical choice to contribute to the universitys School of Education for two reasons: Her mother, sister and brother-in-law graduated from UW-Eau Claire, and she, her mother, brother-in-law and son represent three generations of teachers.
Both Katy and Jan are proud of their hometown and their UW-Eau Claire education, said Jerry Richards, director of planned giving for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Their love for each other and their alma mater has continued over the years.
Katy said she and Jan, who attended UW-Eau Claire for two years before completing his mechanical engineering degree at UW-Madison, always have believed education is a key component in the countrys vitality. The two also donate their resources to church, music and other arts organizations, things that help to make the world a better place, the civilizing factors, the things that touch the spirit and the soul as well as the mind, Katy said.
While Katy taught and served the communities in which they lived, Jan went on to a distinguished professional career with United Dominion Industries in North Carolina, the international division of Trane Company in La Crosse and Emerson Electric in St. Louis.
Because of their profound connection to the community and the university, the Ver Hagens knew they wanted to do something for UW-Eau Claire.
A number of years ago Jerry Richards planted the seed about endowing a chair, Katy said. At the time it didnt seem financially possible, but then the more we thought about it, the more honored we were to have been asked. Im very grateful to Dr. Richards for stretching our thinking.
We thought it was a chance to encourage others who live in Eau Claire and/or have grown up there to help the partnership between the school and the community thrive, Katy said of one of their reasons for the gift. Our hope by making this gift is that we can encourage others to do the same.
When asked how she and her husband developed their philanthropic spirit, Katy said, Giving is our response to the many gifts we have received. Its most satisfying to support things in our society that positively affect our future and play a significant role in promoting values we cherish.
Long-time donors to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the Ver Hagens also fund scholarships in memory of their son, David Matthew, and Katys mother, Eleanor Eddis Fults, as well as two Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarships.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Nov. 27, 2000