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‘Faithful’ Alumnus Aided Lewis Hall Renovations

January 2013


The late Wilfred Spring '51 made himself memorable to his alma mater in the simplest of ways:

He was present. He was passionate. He was loyal.

"He was just faithful," remembered Sheila Deluhery, the associate director of Campus Ministry at St. Ambrose who annually honored the retired chemist's request to be a reader at Heritage Day mass. "He was faithful in everything. He was faithful to St. Ambrose. He was faithful to his job. I just liked him a lot."

Spring died in May of 2011 at the age of 84, having willed a portion of his retirement account from the Hubinger Company in his native Keokuk, Iowa, to the St. Ambrose endowment fund. In addition, he named the university as beneficiary on several commercial annuity retirement funds, a step that exempted those donations from estate taxes.

"From a planning point of view, that is the best way to maximize your philanthropy," said Sally Crino, the St. Ambrose assistant vice president for gift planning. "These are among the best assets to give to charities."

Spring's gifts were put to a fitting use when they helped to fund a significant portion of the past summer's renovations to Lewis Hall. Those extensive changes included the much-needed expansion of laboratories used for chemistry and biology. The chemistry lab was dedicated in Spring's honor on Homecoming Weekend.

"He had a pre-disposition toward support of Lewis Hall, chemistry and biology and physics," remembered Ed Rogalski, PhD, St. Ambrose president emeritus. "He would even recruit students for us in that area and if they attended St. Ambrose, he would support them."

With the exception of his college years spent at St. Ambrose, Spring lived his entire life in the modest home in which he grew up.

In retirement, he became known for the latch-hook rugs he would produce at a card table set up in front of his television. He donated several of those to St. Ambrose, including one of the St. Ambrose seal that hung in the president's office for many years.

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