“Do Your Giving While You Are Living”: A Richard Sanders Story

By Mike Murtagh.

Sometimes in life, a few well-chosen words have a profound impact on people and institutions. Several years ago, Carolyn Shepard, a good friend of Eureka College and a notable philanthropist told Dr. Richard Sanders that he should do his giving while he was living so that he would know where it was going. To say those words had a deep impact on the life of Dick Sanders and the life of Eureka College would be an understatement. For those words served as a catalyst that has changed Eureka College for the better.

As the largest donor in the history of Eureka College, Dr. Sanders’ support can be seen everywhere on campus. From Sanders Hall, to the basketball court in the Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena, to the newly installed turf on the football field, anywhere you look you can see the difference Dr. Sanders has made to EC. His support has transformed the College.

The question that begs to be asked is why? Why would someone give so much? Dr. Sanders has some simple answers to that question. For one, as a lifelong educator he believes strongly in providing students a first-rate educational experience. The knowledge that future students will be attending classes in Sanders Hall for many years to come holds great appeal to him. So does knowing that by renovating and building new facilities, more students will be attracted to Eureka College. Although Dr. Sanders is a historian by training, as a philanthropist he is all about the future. For him, that future includes a vibrant Eureka College that is committed to providing a top-notch education.

For Dr. Sanders, Eureka College is more than just a liberal arts college. It is a special place. It is his special place. It was at Eureka College that he was able to follow his dream of teaching European History. It was at Eureka College that he met scores of students who he has seen become men and women of character and integrity. Eureka College made a difference in his life and as a result he has sought ways to repay the institution that means so much.

Transformational change started with a few well-chosen words spoken by a very wise woman. “Do your giving while you are living” are words that inspired one man to make a difference. Hopefully they will inspire you too.


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