Supporters Like You

Supporters Like You

Meet the People Who Celebrate Women

Just like you, these are people who want women to grow, succeed, and reach their full potential. And they are people who take action through a gift in a will, trust, or other account to support and sustain Cottey College for generations to come. Meet some of these extraordinary champions for women.

Joan Maupin

Joan Maupin, P.E.O. and financial advisor, often advises her clients to plan their giving, just as she did with a planned estate gift to Cottey to ensure incredible futures for women.

Joan Maupin, P.E.O. and financial advisor from Florida, learned from an early age about the value of giving.

“My parents instilled in me the importance of giving back at an early age beginning with the church where I was a member,” she said. “I was often reminded that it costs money to have the lights on, to print bulletins, and keep it warm in the winter. Also, to help others as our church did.”

That spirit of philanthropy continued to grow and Joan has been an avid supporter of Cottey College for many years.

“I am one of the 230,000 members of P.E.O. who own Cottey College and I want it to thrive, continue to grow, and provide educational opportunities for women,” she answered.

Through her profession as a financial adviser, she has visited with clients and P.E.O.s about Cottey. As a professional financial advisor, she has advice for others about planning their giving.

“It is very important to plan our giving as a part of our estate planning and also share with your children your plan to set aside part of your estate to Cottey,” she said. “You are ‘giving back’ so other women may also have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals.”

Joan has taken her own advice and made a planned estate gift to the College in addition to her initial gift to the Defining Moment campaign. When asked if she had any final words regarding philanthropy, she added:

“Giving is much more rewarding than receiving, and a parent or grandparent can be a good role model for children and emphasize the importance of giving.”

Susan Rouleau

Susan Rouleau ’72 recounts her journey to Cottey and how she and her husband are ensuring that countless other women can create incredible futures.

Susan Rouleau ’72 is from Seattle, Washington, and first learned about Cottey from her mother, grandmother, and aunt, all P.E.O.s. She knew from the moment that she heard about the school that she would love it. After graduating from high school, she hopped aboard a train — alone — to attend Cottey. With no car and nowhere else to go most evenings, she and her fellow students would gather around a piano or guitar and sing. It was here that deep friendships grew and a top-quality education took root.

“The friendships that I made are lifelong. I still get together with my suitemates and friends from the happiest two years of my life.” Susan also valued her access to superior academics and knowledgeable faculty, “I felt like I had the ability to do anything I wanted.”

When asked about her and her husband’s decision to give to Cottey, Susan speaks about what makes Cottey so unique:

“One of the thoughts that I shared with Michael — my hope is that Cottey would continue to grow and become the spot that countless other women would attend in the future and have that same incredible experience that I had. When Michael finally did get to visit Cottey he said, “I always knew it would be a great place because of the way you described it, but after being on campus, I truly understand. I get it.'”

Blaine and Marian Shull

The Shulls believe that Cottey “is such a jewel that it needs to be talked about.” Their giving puts educational excellence within reach of every woman.

Blaine and Marian Shull first learned about Cottey College through P.E.O. Blaine’s mother, who was a long time P.E.O., introduced her daughter-in-law, Marian, to the organization. Although she never attended the College, Marian felt a connection to Cottey because one of her P.E.O. sisters had a mother and sister who attended.

After hearing about Cottey from their chapter for many years, the Shulls were travelling across the country and decided to stop to visit the College. They were familiar with many Cottey administrators and students and had heard so many wonderful things about the College that they decided to make the visit a part of their trip. Everything about Cottey exceeded their expectations and their appreciation for the school grew deeper. They loved seeing the bright, interested, talented and enthusiastic students and were impressed with the small class sizes and broad scope of educational excellence. They eventually decided to deepen their commitment with a gift to Cottey.

“We were so impressed with the school, the standards that were set, and the education that they were providing. It was originally our intent to remain anonymous donors, but we feel that Cottey is such a jewel that it needs to be talked about. So whenever we get a chance to talk about it, we do!”

Amber Todd

Amber Todd ’03 shares why she gave back to the school that gave her so much.

When Amber Todd ’03 first looked into Cottey College, her choice regarding her education became very clear, “One of my mother’s friends, Helen Kirby ’53, is a P.E.O., Cottey alumna, and was, at the time, a member of the Board of Trustees. When I was a senior in high school, Helen strongly suggested that I look at Cottey and the rest is history!”

During her time as a student, she grew to love the close-knit campus community and holds the memories and connections she made very dear.

“After our cumulative organic chemistry final, Dr. Fowler took the whole class out for a pizza dinner. That was a nice way to wrap up the year. When the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred, Dr. Washburn, Cottey’s president at the time, visited every single suite on campus that evening to talk with all the students. That showed how much she cared. I have been able to keep in touch with a few faculty and staff members and even heard from them when my first child was born. Where else but at Cottey would these things happen?”

When asked about why she gave to Cottey, Amber talks about her desire to give back to the school that gave her so many opportunities to grow and achieve.

“I attended Cottey and it changed my life! It provided me with excellent opportunities for research and leadership and made me a much more confident woman. I was able to do two independent research projects in chemistry and biology during my time there. I was able to use laboratory equipment often reserved for graduate students and post docs at most universities while I was a freshman and sophomore. Cottey instilled a lot of confidence in me and my abilities. I definitely would not be the person I am today without my time at Cottey.”

Laura Van Vlack-Ailes is ensuring her family legacy of scientific achievement lives on through the bright young women at Cottey.

With so many scientists in her family, finding a way to benefit college and university science departments came naturally to Laura Van Vlack-Ailes. With so many P.E.O.s in the family as well, supporting Cottey College in particular was also a perfect fit.

“I am a microbiologist, my brother is an electrical engineer, my grandfathers were researchers [one in agriculture and one in veterinary pathology] and my dad was a materials engineer,” Laura explains. Her father, Dr. Lawrence “Larry” Van Vlack, was a long-time faculty member and administrator at the University of Michigan. According to an article in Michigan Engineer On-Line, he coordinated the accreditation of the oldest existing undergraduate curriculum in materials science in the United States and authored eleven books, including a textbook used by more than a million engineering students around the world. Dr.Van Vlack also helped establish the first U.S. graduate program in the science of engineering materials.

“When Dad died in 2000, we approached Michigan about a way the foundation our parents started could help honor his dedication to the field. Even a school that large said that acquiring, but especially maintaining, science equipment is critical to the quality of the program.”

Around the same time, Laura read an article about the science facilities and equipment in Cottey’s recently dedicated Rubie Burton Academic Center. ‘‘My mom was a member of Michigan Chapter CH. My two grandmothers, aunts, my sister-in-law and I are P.E.O.s. I figured if keeping equipment current at a place like the University of Michigan was an issue, it probably was at Cottey, too.” As a result, Laura and her brother Bruce Van Vlack granted funds through the Van Vlack Family Charitable Trust to endow the Van Vlack Science Equipment Fund at Cottey College.

Since then, the Van Vlack Science Equipment Fund has helped provide high-quality biology and chemistry equipment that allows graduates to excel when they transfer or find internships and employment following their experience in Cottey’s science departments.

Laura provides regular support for her family’s science fund as well as other programs at Cottey College through personal contributions. Every time she gives, she applies for employer matching gifts. Many companies offer matching gifts as a benefit to the employees and retirees that, with just a little bit of effort, allow them to double and sometime triple their contributions. While program guidelines vary, most companies now have online systems for employees to apply for matching funds.

Because of Laura’s thoughtful planning, she is ensuring her family’s legacy of scientific achievement continues through the bright young women here at Cottey.

Betzy is supporting Cottey now and for years to come with her generous gift. It’s her legacy. See how she created it.

Betzy Fry ’81 loves Cottey College. Grateful for the education, opportunities, and scholarships that she and her sister, Debbie Fry Rink ’84, received, Betzy has included a gift for Cottey in her estate plan. “I wanted to make sure there would always be a gift for Cottey,” she says.

Betzy grew up in Oregon and was raised by her mom, Alberta Fry. Alberta was an active P.E.O. and served as Oregon state president in 1995-96. “I learned about Cottey in high school,” Betsy says, “and decided that’s where I wanted to go.”

After graduating from Cottey and the University of Oregon, Betzy got her dream job as a Cottey admission representative. “I couldn’t have been happier,” she says. “I was getting paid to do what I love: talk about Cottey!”

Now senior director of development at Portland State University, she remains an active Cottey donor and volunteer. “Cottey is so important to me,” she says. “I purposely stay involved.”

So, when Betzy and her husband, Jim McCauley, created their wills following the birth of their daughter, Kelsey McCauley ’15, they included a gift to Cottey. With that gift, they became members of the Stockard Society.

In 2015, Betzy also established a scholarship at Cottey, with preference given to students from Oregon. She continues to make monthly contributions to this fund and has directed that proceeds from her estate will benefit this scholarship. “The first scholarship was awarded this fall,” Betzy says. “I cannot even tell you how cool it was to get that thank-you note!”

As Betzy’s one-time admissions department co-worker, Nancy Kerbs, Cottey Director of Assessment and Institutional Research, says, “Betzy and I attended Cottey at a time when students professed regularly in song that we would ‘leave our name on Cottey history.’ Betzy has demonstrated her support for Cottey with her gifts and talents many times over.”

This story defines the difference a legacy gift makes not only in the life of the person who gives it but in the lives of all who benefit from it. It becomes your legacy of women’s leadership.

A scholar and educator, Mary Jane is empowering other women to learn. See how she created this wonderful legacy.

It was 75 years ago when Mary Jane Wall came to Cottey College from Fort Dodge, Iowa. Her classmate Lois Lee remembers her as beautiful, quiet, and intelligent.

Courtney Cole ’02 and Anita van Rooyen ’17 remember the Class of 1944 alumna differently – as a generous benefactor who helped make their education possible.

After graduating from Cottey, Mary Jane continued to study education, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska, a master’s from Drake, and a doctorate from Oregon State.

As a scholar and an educator, she was at the forefront of teaching learning-disabled children and a pioneer in the movement to integrate play therapy, movement, and music into their education. At a time when children who learn differently were stigmatized, she helped change society’s way of thinking.

Mary Jane was also a strong advocate for women, and her legacy lives on at Cottey. In her estate, she provided funds for an endowed scholarship at Cottey that bears her name and her mother’s name: the Mary Jane Wall and Minnie Ellen Wall Scholarship. To date, this scholarship has helped fund the education of 24 Cottey students, including Courtney Cole and Anita van Rooyen.

Courtney Cole earned her associate’s degree at Cottey and bachelor’s degree from the University of Saint Mary. After working as a teacher for seven years, Courtney started a political consulting business, MO-Political, helping elect officials to posts in state, county, and city government. She also served as executive director for the Missouri Democratic Party’s Senate Project and for the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus.

Currently, she is executive director for the Excelsior Springs Educational Foundation and is involved in multiple community organizations, including The Good Samaritan Center; Clay County MU Extension Council; Community for All Ages, a local homeless coalition; and a support group for grandparents raising grandchildren.

Anita van Rooyen grew up in Nevada and planned to go elsewhere for college until she participated in the Cottey College Presidential Leadership Program at Nevada High School. The lessons in this program carried through to her experience at Cottey, where she received the Leadership Mentor Award for empowering and supporting her peers.

A magna cum laude graduate, Anita shared insights with classmates when she spoke at commencement. “Cottey women, your journey does not end here. This is just the beginning of a lifetime of possibilities,” she said. “A Cottey woman faces these possibilities with gusto and headstrong resilience. We, as Cottey graduates, follow in the footsteps of a long line of awe-inspiring women who have dared to lead and dared to make a difference in the world and we, together, have this legacy to protect.”

Isn’t it amazing how a gift can do so much? The impact of Mary Jane’s gift will resound for generations, creating incredible futures for many outstanding women. What a wonderful legacy to have.