Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Wheeler Society Gifts Support Scholarships, Endowment
The HWS Update
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Wheeler Society Gifts Support Scholarships, Endowment

Recently realized bequests will add more than $1.5 million to Hobart and William Smith Colleges, reinforcing the long-term impact of planned gifts on student and institutional success.

Through the Wheeler Society, which recognizes individuals and families who have established a planned gift to HWS, the late Carl L. Austin Sr. ’52, Patricia Diebold ’47, Frank E. Milliman ’47 and Pearl Newton Rook ’50 made significant donations that will support scholarship funds and general endowment well into the future.

“Legacy gifts made through the Wheeler Society are very meaningful,” says Vice President for Advancement Bob O’Connor P’22. “They highlight the defining role HWS plays in the lives of our students, faculty, family members and friends, and they are a tremendous vote of confidence for the Colleges’ future and the opportunities we offer students.”

Noting the record-breaking fundraising efforts in the 2020 fiscal year, O’Connor adds: “I am consistently impressed by the generosity of our donors and grateful for their support and stewardship.”

A gift from Carl L. Austin Sr. ’52 will help fund the general endowment, generating income that supports all aspects of the campus and HWS programs. A U.S. Army veteran serving during peacetime in the late 1940s, Austin graduated from Hobart as a member of Phi Beta Tau fraternity and went on to serve as a manager for American Insurance Association, an industry trade group. He passed away in 2019 at the age of 91.

A new endowed scholarship, funded by the estate of Patricia Diebold ’47, will support academically and financially deserving HWS students. As a student at HWS, Diebold majored in sociology and was involved with the Little Theatre. She went on to work as a social care provider, a clerk and a typist, and volunteered at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Diebold, one of many HWS graduates in her family, passed away in 2019 at the age of 93.

Frank E. Milliman ’47 endowed a scholarship supporting students of outstanding ability in the field of mathematics. Milliman, who attended Hobart College, served for four years in the U.S. Navy and earned an undergraduate degree from Holy Cross College and an advanced degree from Columbia University. He returned to teach at HWS before joining the mathematics faculty at West Chester University, retiring as a professor emeritus after 48 years. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 93.

Pearl Newton Rook ’50 made a gift to support the Colleges’ general scholarship fund upon her death in 2019 at the age of 95. After studying at Mount Vernon Seminary in the early 1940s, Rook enrolled at William Smith, where she met and married Douglas Lee Rook ’49. A poet and editor, she later returned to HWS to finish her degree in English, graduating in 1978.

Since it was established in 1989, The Wheeler Society has welcomed more than 1,000 alumni, alumnae, parents and friends who have invested in the Colleges as they have their own families. Their gifts — both modest and large — have reshaped the Colleges and their future.