University celebrates generous donors at annual dinner Celebration of Philanthropy

Nancy Targett pays tribute to the 2016 Delaware Diamonds Society Pacesetters.

University of Delaware Acting President Nancy Targett and Board of Trustees Chairman John Cochran hosted Celebration of Philanthropy, an evening of appreciation and impact honoring the University’s Delaware Diamonds Society members at the Ambassador level and above (society levels can be found here). The society honors the University’s leadership annual giving donors.

The event was kicked off by society co-chair and UD alumnus David Elkins, who welcomed guests and thanked them for their generosity. “Delaware Diamonds Society members collectively gave more than $13 million to UD last year alone,” Elkins said.

Indeed, the celebrated members have impacted UD across campus from providing much-needed scholarships to deserving Blue Hens, advancing academic and athletic programs and affording faculty and students opportunities to participate in innovative, cutting-edge research.

“As chairman of the Board, it is refreshing to know that there are thousands of individuals like you equally committed to the future success of the University. It is encouraging to be around like-minded philanthropists who care about our students and truly understand how much our collective contributions affect our University community,” Cochran said to the crowd.

Cochran and his wife, Patricia, UD donors for over 20 years, were among the Pacesetter members especially recognized for contributing more than $100,000 to the University over the past year. Their support helped to make the addition to the Bob Carpenter Center possible, as well as funding the Patricia A. and John R. Cochran Scholarship.

Fellow Pacesetter honorees included Mark and Sharon Mayr, honored for their ongoing contributions to the Rose Louese Mayr ’14 Memorial Scholarship, established in honor of their late daughter and former UD student. Charles and Patricia Robertson – Patricia an alumna from the Class of 1976 – were also recognized for establishing the Patricia and Charles Robertson Professor of Marine Science and Policy.

The Robertsons were also announced as the 2016 recipients of the President’s Award for Philanthropic Commitment, an award recognizing donors whose leadership and personal commitment help to make higher education a tangible, true reality for many.

The Robertsons have been supporters of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment for more than three decades and have strengthened many CEOE initiatives including faculty retention, fellowships and state-of-the-art equipment. Last fall, they established the Patricia and Charles Robertson Professor of Marine Science and Policy to reward exceptional young faculty talent.

Targett praised the Robertsons for their insatiable curiosity in cutting-edge research that was often pegged as too risky by other donors.  “It’s moving to see how much they are inspired and energized by the work of our faculty and students,” Targett said.

A humble Matt Oliver, the Patricia and Charles Robertson Professor of Marine Science and Public Policy, credited much of the strides he and his students have made to the Robertsons’ investment in the work they are doing in the department.

After receiving the award, Patricia Robertson said, “One of the best investments we can make is in the future of today’s students. It’s been great to see the results of those investments.”

Targett concluded the event by encouraging the crowd to continue celebrating Delaware Diamonds Society members and their ongoing generosity. “Let’s give every Delaware Diamonds Society member applause for the collective strength and support their gifts have afforded us all.”

About philanthropy at UD

The impact of philanthropy abounds on the University of Delaware campus. From the hundreds of students who benefit from donor-funded scholarships to groundbreaking research fueled by donor investments to buildings made possible by generous contributors, the University’s progress and advancement are inextricably tied to the commitment and dedication of the UD community.

About the Delaware Diamonds Society

Established in 1974, the Delaware Diamonds Society is a recognition society devoted to encouraging exemplary levels of financial support among alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends of the University of Delaware. It pays tribute to those who cumulatively contribute $1,000 or more annually. To learn more about the Delaware Diamonds Society, click here.

Source: UDally, Photos by Kevin Quinlan