Timothy H. Ubben ’58 & Sharon Williams Ubben ’58

“Education is so important, especially to kids who are disadvantaged.”

Tim Ubben calls himself “an endowment guy.” He believes that a university’s endowment serves as an accurate indicator of its quality, and, therefore, he strongly advocates growing the one at DePauw. Accordingly, he and his wife, Sharon, have practiced what they preach, beginning with a small donation their graduation year and giving consistently ever since: six figures for the first time in 1983; $10 million in 1995; and, in 2013, $20 million to The DePauw Trust. “Endowments are powerful parts of colleges,” Tim explains, “not only providing support for operating funds, but also faculty chairs and financial aid in perpetuity.”

The Ubbens’ generosity to DePauw has been extraordinary, including endowing 15 professorships and providing the resources to launch a lecture series named in their honor, bringing world leaders such as Benazir Bhutto, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Mikhail Gorbachev and Shimon Peres to speak at DePauw. But as the couple’s recent $20 million gift indicates, student access is their highest priority. “I love to see the recipients of scholarship money,” Tim says, “kids who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to go to college. I enjoy talking with them and hearing about their successes.”

Meanwhile, Tim and Sharon, plus their son Jeff, also support financial aid through the national Posse Program, which helps minority and low-income urban students graduate from college. DePauw has participated in the program since 1996, and this past April, Tim and Jeff pledged $50 million to the organization’s endowment. “Education is so important,” Tim emphasizes, “especially to kids who are disadvantaged. Education becomes imperative if they’re going to rise up from their situation.”

Finally, for the self-described “endowment guy,” supporting your alma mater financially is paramount: “Colleges like DePauw can’t exist, much less prosper, without the support of alumni and friends.”

Upon graduating from DePauw, Sharon worked as a schoolteacher in Indiana and Florida, and later operated a tour company. She has also served on DePauw’s Alumni Association Board. Tim earned his MBA from Northwestern University, and, in 1967, founded the successful Chicago-based investment firm Lincoln Capital Management, from which he retired as chairman in 1999. Tim was the 2012 recipient of the Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Volunteer Involvement. Presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Stewart Award is the highest honor CASE gives to alumni volunteers. Recipients are recognized for exceptional overall service to their alma maters.

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