University of Evansville

Office of Development

The Office of Development is located in the Igleheart Building.

Planned Giving Donor Options

Robert and Florence Rupper Bernhardt

Robert Bernhardt was born in 1921, the second of three children. He was educated in the Evansville Public Schools and graduated with a B.S. degree from Indiana University in 1943.

Florence Rupper Bernhardt was also born in 1921 in Evansville. She attended Evansville schools and graduated from Reitz High School in 1939. She attended Depauw University her Freshman, Junior, Senior years but attended Evansville College her Sophomore year. She graduated from Depauw in 1943 with a degree in home economics.

Bob and Florence were married just a few years later. In 1957, Bob bought Kight Lumber Company in Newburgh, Indiana. They raised three children and built up the family business early on. In 1963, Kight opened its Evansville yard on Boonville Highway. Since 1957, it has grown from 11 to 130 employees. In 1988, they sold the company to their two sons.

Bob was an 87-year member of Bethel UCC, serving as president of the church council. He was a charter member of Rolling Hills Country Club and enjoyed golf trips to Scotland and Florida. Bob and Florence loved to travel and visited more than 50 countries. Bob was also a member of the Optimist Club, Toastmasters and Kennel Club. Bob loved life and touched many lives along the way.

Florence wrote a recipe column for the Evansville Press in the mid 1950's. In the late 1960's she taught sewing, cooking, and budgeting skills to women at Stewart Service Center through the Cape Program. She was known for her wonderful baking skills and loved to share her goodies with friends and neighbors. She was a member of Christian Fellowship Church and volunteered many hours of service there.

In 1985, Bob and Florence established the Bernhardt Memorial Scholarship at the University of Evansville in honor of Bob's parents. Going a step further, Bob and Florence left their legacy in an additional way by including the University in their estate plans. Through the establishment of a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust, upon their passing, the Fred Bernhardt Memorial Scholarship was established to honor Bob's father, Fred J. Bernhardt who was a member of the Evansville College Board of Trustees for 27 years as the Endowment Treasurer.

Their generosity and philanthropic spirit in the greater Evansville community has and will continue to make a profound impact on others. Their legacy will certainly live on at UE in the hearts and minds of students.

Thornton and Melba Patberg

Thornton and Melba (Meyer) Patberg have been long time friends of the University of Evansville, to say the least. Thornton, a 1952 Evansville College graduate, returned to the University as the Director of Admissions in 1957. He served in this position until 1972 when he became Vice President of Student Affairs. In 1985, he shifted to the position of Vice President for Development. He retired from the University of Evansville in 1994, but he and Melba have continued their involvement with the University, volunteering in many capacities.

Melba earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Evansville in 1966 and her master's degree in 1968. She was an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Evansville until her retirement in 1994. Both have been long-time Aces Athletics fans and Aces basketball season ticket holders for decades. Thornton was a former basketball player and a proud member of Phi Zeta (now Lambda Chi Alpha) Fraternity. They are life-time members of the President's Club and members of the John Collins Moore Society. Thornton currently serves on the UE Planned Giving Advisory Council. In 2007, Patberg received the Edie Bates Volunteer Service Award.

In 1997, they established the Melba and Thornton Patberg Scholarship that is awarded each year to an upper classman who maintains a GPA of 2.75 or above and who does not normally qualify for financial assistance. During their tenure at the University, they have impacted the lives of countless students, and their legacy continues to live on through thier recent choice to make a planned gift to UE.

In 2009, Thornton and Melba established a Charitable Gift Annuity at the University of Evansville. In doing so, they were able to transfer marketable securities to the University of Evansville, issuing the gift annuity in exchange for a current income tax deduction and the University's promise to make fixed annual payments to the Patberg's for life. Upon their passing, the principal investment will be transferred to their endowed scholarship to help UE students achieve their dreams. The Patbergs continue their leadership at UE, and for their friendship and invaluable loyalty to UE, we salute them.

Alma and D.W. Vaughn

Alma and D. W. Vaughn graduated from Evansville College in 1934 and 1931 respectively.

Alma was a lifetime trustee, serving for 46 years. She was involved in many aspects of the University and the following are just a few: founding member of the UE Theatre Society, president of the Samuel Johnson Society, member of the Friends of Art and Friends of UE Music organizations and a member of the Harlaxton Society. Alma and D. W. both had distinguished careers as students and alumni. D. W. was presented with a Medal of Honor. Additionally, they were involved in and championed numerous fundraising campaigns which directly affected UE's financial strength and academic well-being.

Alma and D. W. were happily married for 59 years. D. W. was chairman of the board of Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Company and Alma had a distinct and effective role in the Evansville community. The University was an important part of their lives for more than 70 years. Alma died in 2004; D. W. preceded her in death in 1998.

Their fondness and connection to the University continues today through the establishment of an endowed scholarship which they included in their estate plans. Today, their scholarship continues to provide critical financial assistance for students majoring in arts and sciences. "We are forever grateful to the Vaughns."

David and Nancy Koehler

David is a family physician in private practice on the north side of Evansville. He is a native of Evansville who graduated from UE in 1992 with a degree in chemistry. David is thankful for the education he received at UE and the financial support he was afforded.

Recently, David and his wife Nancy, completed estate plans which include UE as a beneficiary. "With the birth of our son, we realized that we needed to put a will into place and feel that it is very important to give back to our community". With Nancy's work at the Deaconess Foundation, we already knew how easy it is to include a charity in estate plans. Too many people think that they have to be older and extremely wealthy in order to name a charity in their estate plans. That isn't the case!! The Koehlers have not restricted their gift to a particular designation and wish for the University to use the funds where they are most needed. Thank you David and Nancy.

Lucille and John Kelly

Lucille is a 1970 graduate of the University with a BS in Nursing. Her husband was a surgeon at Welborn Baptist Hospital in Evansville. They have been married now for more than 44 years and are living in Sun City, Arizona.

In 2003, they established the Lucy Kelly Endowed Nursing Scholarship with a $25,000 gift. This scholarship is awarded annually to one or more students majoring in Nursing. In September, 2006, the Kelly's contributed an additional $100,000 to this scholarship fund in the form of a Charitable Gift Annuity that will provide income to both of them and/or to the remaining spouse.

Since she was a nurse and he a doctor, they understand the importance of graduating highly qualified health professionals from the University and their generosity will go a long way toward the achievement of that crucial goal.

Thank you Lucille and Dr. John Kelly.