Building on a Strong Foundation

Ed Vessels

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Huntington University Foundation has proven to be an encouraging experience with much of the encouragement coming unexpectedly from a commissioned history of the Foundation. This impressive history documents many events of dedicated leadership, community collaboration, innovation, perseverance and accomplishments that were sustained in good times and bad.

This history also provides interesting insight into why many buildings and features of Huntington University bear the names they do. For example, the Foundation was started by Huntington College professor, Fred Loew, and Huntington businessman, Jacob Brenn. After reading about their historic leadership and commitment, it is clear why one of the most used academic facilities on the campus today is Loew-Brenn Hall.

Brenn, the Foundation's first president, led the Foundation for 26 years from 1938 1964. Over these nearly three decades our nation and community experienced war, recessionary periods and much change.

Yet, despite these tumultuous times the Foundation and community supported initiatives like the construction of Loew-Alumni Library (1949), an innovative fund raiser called "The College Acre of Corn" (1951), the launch of the Foundation "Breakfast Hour" series hosted at the Hotel LaFontaine (1958), and the fundraising of more than $236,000 for construction of the Jacob L. Brenn Science Hall (1963).

With these accomplishments as the example, the Foundation and the community have continued to collaborate to support a growing college.

Some of the key projects over those next 50 years included creating Lake Sno-Tip (1966) named for Foundation board members Gene Snowden and F.L. Tipmore; receiving the Robert E. Wilson art collection and subsequent establishment of the Robert E. Wilson Gallery (1986) within the Merilatt Centre for the Arts; and influencing millions of dollars of contributions to university facility expansions, permanent endowments and grants for Huntington County students to attend the university.

Certainly, the inspirational history challenges the Foundation and community to be dedicated and resourceful in helping make the future better than the past.

Throughout the remainder of 2013, the Foundation is encouraged and motivated to do just that. We plan to do so by continuing the celebration of the 75th anniversary, thanking our loyal supporters and community, welcoming the 13th president of Huntington University, and seeking to raise at least $75,000 as an appropriate and symbolic way to salute those who have gone before and to benefit those yet to come. As history challenges us, it is the Foundation's 75th anniversary goal to continue "Building on a Strong Foundation."

Help us in supporting our mission.