Friendship animates gifts to Sewanee

In IMPACT, we share stories of people who give back to Sewanee and the benefits they convey on the institution. In talking with donors, there is often one overarching question, “Why give?” and an accompanying thought, “Why this gift in particular?” Over and over, while the answer to the second comes down to the specific interests, passions, and enthusiasms of the donor, the original motivation is almost always animated by friendship. As 2021 dawns at Sewanee, we thank readers of this newsletter for your continued friendship—your friendship with the University and the friendships you have for one another. May you be blessed by all your relationships and thrive during this new year. 

To learn more about Sewanee's University Relations efforts and about how to become a partner in the work of educating Sewanee students,  visit

Above: Friends of Bran and Cindy Potter have established a new endowment to support students who are completing field experiences in earth sciences at Sewanee. The endowment can support students doing independent or directed research or who are participating in one of Sewanee’s superb field courses. Click here to read more about this important project.

Congregational Giving

When St. Alban's Church in Tucson, Arizona, realized new revenue from lease fees for a cell tower on its campus, the church decided to ramp up its already ambitious outreach program, with the School of Theology as one of its beneficiaries. 

The “Flashpad” Memorializes Gavin Moore, C’93

The Gavin Moore, C’93, Pavilion is a testament to the power of friendships and to the effect a particular friend had on those who knew him at Sewanee and beyond. More than 140 such friends have contributed to a uniquely Sewanee project, a pavilion in Lost Cove that bears his name and alludes to a Sewanee nickname, “The Flash.” 

Terri Taylor, C’79, Remembered by Classmate Paul Erwin

In the late 1970s, Paul Erwin, C’79, and Terri Taylor, C’79, were part of a closeknit group who performed folk songs at the Outside Inn and launched a lifetime of friendship—the Cumberland Nine. In 2005, that friendship was cut tragically short when Taylor died suddenly. Now Erwin has established the Terri Taylor Cornerstone Scholarship to remember his friend, who was “always thinking to do for others.”


A New Bequest Boosts DeBary Fund to Support EfM

An administrative mentor for EfM (Education for Ministry) at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Gerald Wildes has recently made an estate commitment to Edward O. DeBary Program Development, an endowment established in honor of an early director of  EfM. “As a single man with no children, I wanted to leave a legacy for a program that made an important impact on my life,” says Wildes.  

Better to Give Than Receive, says Bob Gaines, C’60

Bob Gaines, C’60, has a great way of remembering his annual gift to Sewanee: he makes that gift on his birthday. Over the years, he has supported the Sewanee Fund, several class projects launched by his class of 1960, for which he is class president, and the German Department and Das Deutsches Haus. A German minor, he has Gaines is a tireless advocate for Sewanee and has led a life full of travel, good friendships, and fellowships. 


Stuarts Establish Scholarship Trust

While neither Anne nor Claude Stuart attended Sewanee, their connection with the town and such important alumni as Duncan Gray Jr. and William Alexander Percy is intergenerational. Strong believers in education, the Stuarts have established a new endowment for students from their native Greenville, Mississippi. 

Alumna Roma Lenehan, C'85, Supports Sewanee and Her Community

Roma Lenehan, C’85, is a naturalist and nonprofit leader in her native Madison, Wisconsin. And, she is a passionate birder, an avocation that she developed while a Sewanee leader. Hers is not just a “big year” but a big life. This civic leader is a generous Sewanee Fund donor. “I give to Sewanee to give back, to help other students, and to help Sewanee to be the wonderful place I experienced,” she says. 


Sam Kern, C'19, Gives Time, Talent, and Treasure

In January, Sam Kern, C’19, was on campus to talk with students at the annual Beyond the Gates event. A Bonner Leader and a Carey Fellow at Sewanee, Sam donated his travel expenses to Sewanee. His work as a consultant is an example of the kind of public interest technology this issue of Impact has featured. People like Sam give hope for the future. 


Alderson-Tillinghast Chair Supports Faculty Excellence

Chris McDonough is the inaugural Alderson-Tillinghast Chair of the Humanities. He is a great choice, having been chair of the interdisciplinary humanities program and also having created excellent interdisciplinary project-based opportunities for students such as the Mine 21 film and the great Sewanee Tapestry Project. 

The endowment, which will  support the professional development for many faculty, was established by Edwin Alderson, C'62, and named for Alderson and his classmate and friend, Richard Tillinghast. 

Click HERE to read remarks from McDonough.