Franklin & Marshall College has received the largest gift for endowed financial aid in its history, courtesy of Faye Gelhard—a Lancaster County native and late widow of F&M alumnus Richard Gelhard '57.
Mrs. Gelhard, who died in January 2015, left a significant bequest to F&M, the value of which is estimated to reach nearly $6.3 million. The overwhelming majority of this gift will be split into two financial aid funds. The Richard M. Gelhard Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide need-based aid to qualified students, with preference given to those interested in majoring in government, public affairs or public policy. The Faye L. Gelhard Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide similar aid, with preference given to those students interested in majoring in the health sciences, pre-health or psychology. A small portion of the bequest is designated for unrestricted College endowment.
"F&M is tremendously grateful to receive this historic gift in support of financial aid—the College's highest priority—from Faye Gelhard's estate," Franklin & Marshall President Daniel R. Porterfield said. "Our mission is to recruit, support, educate and launch into success high-achieving students from the full American mosaic. This 'Talent Strategy' can best succeed with scholarships that make an F&M education possible for bright students from all backgrounds. Mrs. Gelhard spent her life supporting important causes throughout Lancaster County and has been a generous and loyal supporter of F&M for many years. She and Richard were wonderful people and their F&M legacy is profound. This estate gift will create college opportunity for many F&M students for generations to come."
Six years ago, Franklin & Marshall's Board of Trustees voted to dramatically increase financial aid, more than doubling the amount allocated. Since that decision, donations totaling $20 million for student aid have been received.
The Gelhards married while Dick attended F&M, and Faye frequently participated in the College's student events. After Dick's graduation, he and Faye were very involved with the activities of Dick's classmates in the class of 1957. Dick's older brother Jim and niece Cynthia are also graduates of the College. Faye felt very much a part of the Franklin & Marshall community, and after Dick passed away in 1993, she continued to support the College and the outstanding liberal arts education it provides in many ways—through the Annual Fund, the Barshinger Life Science & Philosophy Building, the Harris Center for Business, Government and Public Policy, the Sidney Wise Public Service Internship program and the College's financial aid program.
Dick, a graduate of Lancaster's McCaskey High School and a Government major at F&M, began his career working for the Hamilton Watch Company. Faye was a graduate of Ephrata High School who graduated from the Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing in 1952 and worked for Planned Parenthood for more than a quarter century, beginning in Reading, Pa. For several years, she was the executive director of the Planned Parenthood of Luzerne County. She also was one of the six incorporators and the first president of Maternal Health Services of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
In 1976, the Gelhards purchased Blue Ball Lanes and moved back to Lancaster County. Faye continued to work for Planned Parenthood, but also helped to manage the bowling alley. Richard, a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War who received the Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars, served on the Lebanon County Planning Commission, the Lebanon, Reading and Wilkes-Barre redevelopment authorities and the Blue Ball Lions Club. He also was vice chairman of the East Earl Township Supervisors for 10 years, as well as president of the Lancaster County Bowling Proprietors Association and a past president of the Pennsylvania Bowling Proprietors Association. After Richard's death, Faye continued to manage the bowling alley until she sold it in 1998.