In many ways, Peggy Gelin inherited a philanthropic mindset.
The former Peggy Tucker was born and raised in Akron, the daughter of Charles and Julia Tucker, both of whom attended The University of Akron during the Great Depression. Her father, who shoveled coal for several years to pay for his and his sister’s college tuition, managed to graduate in 1935, but financial hardships prevented her mother from doing the same.
Over the years, the struggle to pay for a college education was never lost on the Tucker family. In fact, it inspired giving. Peggy’s father went on to establish two scholarships at The University of Akron; and Peggy’s uncle and his wife, who also graduated from the University, endowed two professorships at UA.
Although Peggy moved from the Akron area after graduating from Buchtel High School and attending college, she and her husband, Bruce Gelin, maintained a fondness for the University, and in 2012 the couple decided to establish The Margaret T. and Bruce R. Gelin Scholarship at The University of Akron. The scholarship provides annual financial support for full-time University of Akron students who are enrolled in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education, Engineering, and Health Professions.
“I received a scholarship when I went to college,” said Peggy, a teacher, “and I know what a difference it makes.”
“We wanted to help today’s students realize the American dream, and education in the best route to doing that,” added Bruce, a Ph.D. and consultant in chemical information systems.
According to Peggy, her late father’s desire to help students played an important role in developing the scholarship she and her husband established, and they now hope their gift will allow future students to complete their studies more quickly and with a reduced burden of debt.
Although Peggy and Bruce are not UA alumni, both consider The University of Akron an outstanding choice for their philanthropy and believe the University offers students a tremendous value for their educational dollar.
“Bruce and I have been so touched by the letters we’ve received from students thankful for the scholarships my father established,” added Peggy. “The acknowledgements have made our giving more meaningful and personal. It’s inspiring to read about their dreams and accomplishments, especially considering that many of the students are the first in their families to attend college.”
In the end, the connections are hard to miss. The challenges Peggy’s parents and their siblings faced as college students during the great Depression spawned a multi-generational level of support for The University of Akron – meaning legions of future UA students will have the opportunity to complete their studies, perhaps even debt-free.