How historic levels of giving illustrate TU’s philanthropic momentum

February 18, 2020

TU closes in on annual giving goal thanks to significant gifts since summer 2020

Towson University President Kim Schatzel (left) and Fran Soistman (right) gather together during a ribbon cutting ceremony at TU in 2019. 

The momentum of philanthropic giving is strong among the Towson University community, and it has been on full display over the past 8 months.

A series of large gifts have helped TU raise $12,589,346 toward its annual goal of $14,500,000. Here’s a look back at those notable gifts since summer 2020, with more about the people and reasons behind those gifts:

A record gift

Fran Soistman Jr. ’79 has been a proud Tiger for more than 40 years.

With a recent $5.4 million gift—the largest from an alumnus/a in TU history— Soistman, a nationally recognized expert and top executive in the health care management sector, has continued to demonstrate his boundless affection for his alma mater.  His first gift to TU in the late 1980s was followed by many additional contributions totaling more than $600,000 in support of projects and initiatives across the institution.

"Over the past 30 years, I have had the pleasure of establishing multiple endowments and supporting a number of important initiatives at TU,” Soistman said. “Given the university’s strong momentum and significant opportunities to advance its ambitious vision, I thought that it was the right time to make a substantial commitment to TU’s future," he says. "I hope it inspires others to support the university. My goal is that a fellow alum will quickly follow my gift with an even larger gift."

A new mark in foundation giving

The Kahlert Foundation has awarded TU a record-setting $3 million grant to provide support for major initiatives, advancing the university’s preeminence as a leader in preparing Maryland’s teachers and health care professionals.  

This historic gift is the largest from a foundation with ties to a TU alum. Roberta Kahlert ’69 and her husband, Greg, both serve on The Kahlert Foundation board. 

“In deciding where to make philanthropic investments, The Kahlert Foundation looks for visionary leadership and innovative programs that align with the foundation’s priorities. Towson University checks these boxes,” Greg, president of The Kahlert Foundation, says. “We are proud to fuel TU’s momentum.” 

Helping to make TU a home

Gerhard VonHauenschild, Ph.D., ‘74 has traveled all over the world. But TU, the biology program and its students have brought him back to where his time in the United States began. 

VonHauenschild’s recent $1 million bequest to fund biology scholarships comes on the heels of his 2019 gift to the Biology Alumni Scholarship Fund, which was matched by his employer, DELTA Airlines.

“I know the financial struggles that students face, especially today,” says VonHauenschild. “I left Germany and came to Towson University as a young student, looking for independence and determined to find my own way.” He worked as a hospital orderly during his time at TU and understands the commitment students make to afford college.

It’s always the right time to give

Tom Beyard, who retired in 2019 as a command sergeant major after 37 years of service to the National Guard, recently established a bequest to create the CSM (Ret) Thomas B. Beyard ’77 Endowed Athletics Scholarship and support the Women's Basketball Enhancement and the Athletics Capital Projects funds. He is showing that it is never too late to reconnect and give to the university.

"I just turned 65 and started thinking more about the future," says Beyard. "Now’s the time TU needs all the support it can get. I decided I was going to make my commitment now to be a good example to others."

Faculty gift to provide STEM opportunities

Retired physics professor and former department chair Eddie Loh, Ph.D. continues to provide a positive impact to STEM students at TU.

TU has received $1 million from Loh—the largest planned faculty gift in the university’s history—to fund scholarships for TU physics students.

“Most students who come to TU have to work hard to afford it. I’ve seen some students who had to drop out because of finances. I thought, ‘I am going to help them,’” Loh says.

Give to TU

Gifts from you – our loyal alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends – change lives every day. Your philanthropic support for Towson University and giving to the Towson University Foundation provides vital resources that allow our campus to thrive.