Chuck and Betty Brotherton, of Wall Lake, understand the importance of support from alumni and friends.
“I was here when Old Main burned,” says Chuck, Class of 1957. “At that time, there was a real possibility the school would close. A lot of people stepped up to make sure that didn’t happen.
It’s because of people willing to give of themselves that BV is still here today. We want to continue that tradition.”
He and Betty, Class of 1955, initiated their financial support when the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business was in discussions in the 1980s. They joined the Order of the Arch, which requires an annual commitment of at least $1,000 for membership. Chuck also serves on the Alumni Board. Most recently, they are among the alumni who are supporting See Tomorrow: The Campaign for Buena Vista University.
The couple decided now was the perfect time to evaluate their philanthropic priorities. After providing for their family in their estate plans, they identified BVU and four additional charitable entities they plan to support.
“BV was good to us,” says Chuck. “Not just while we were students, but our son and daughter graduated from BV, too. They had good experiences and went on to be successful. That means a lot to parents.”
The Brothertons want to make sure their gifts directly impact faculty and students, which are the cornerstones of the See Tomorrow campaign.
“When you look at our student body, a number of them are eligible for Pell grants, so it’s not a wealthy population. They can use the money,” Chuck notes. “There are some very bright students here. It’s good to be able to help them.”
Chuck and Betty have met many bright and talented BVU students over the years, particularly during the Celebrating Scholarships Dinner. After their daughter, Beth (Brotherton) Blum, Class of 1987, passed away in 2001 at the age of 37, Chuck and Betty established a scholarship in her name. Two years later, they endowed the scholarship to ensure it would continue long into the future.
“We wanted to honor her in a way that celebrates her and also assists other people,” says Chuck. “Giving back to the university, in the form of a scholarship, was the right way to do that.”
The Brothertons encourage their son, Chris, Class of 1988, and other alumni to evaluate their own relationship with BVU and begin the habit of giving.
“I’m sure a lot of recent grads don’t think they have the money to make a huge gift, but even if you can only give $25 a year, it’s a start,” says Chuck. “It all adds up, and if you establish the giving habit early, maybe one day you can do more.”