Wartburg alumni Raymond F. and Judith K. McCaskey of Chicago have committed $11.5 million to the college, the largest gift in its history, to support scholarships for students from the Chicago area with financial need, President Darrel D. Colson announced at opening convocation Tuesday.
The gift will be used to create the McCaskey Orange Opportunity Scholarship Program with $1.5 million will be used for immediate scholarship resources while the other $10 million will be fulfilled through the couple’s estate.
Preference will be given to students from the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy, of which nearly a dozen current students attended.
“Ray and Judy are exemplary servant leaders and have consistently demonstrated their commitment to their alma mater and to providing life-changing educational opportunities to young people, particularly in the Chicago area,” Colson said.
Ray McCaskey is the retired CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma and is chair of the Wartburg Board of Regents. Judy McCaskey taught at Chicago area schools for 40 years.
“We have been blessed in our lives and have always been guided by the biblical quote, ‘to whom much has been given, much is expected,” Judy McCaskey said in a news release. “We’ve gained lots of ‘adopted grandchildren,’ our McCaskey Scholars, in the process of providing these scholarships.”
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The McCaskeys’ commitment will support the college’s upcoming Transforming Tomorrow comprehensive campaign, which will emphasize increasing scholarship resources.
Other donations to the Transforming Tomorrow campaign have included a $2 million gift from Mike and Marge McCoy to establish the Mike and Marge McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission and gifts supporting the $3.4 million Outdoor Athletic Facilities Project.
Rowe-Clark, a school of nearly 600 students in grades 9-12, features an enrollment of 63 percent African American students and 32 percent Hispanic students, according to the release.
“Wartburg excels in enabling students to live their learning, unlock their potential, and find their calling,” Colson said. “This gift allows students who otherwise may not have an opportunity to consider a college education to take full advantage of the distinctive educational environment for which Wartburg is well known.”
The McCaskey Lyceum in the Saemann Student Center is named for Ray and Judy McCaskey after a previous donation.