Matching grant brings Our Promising Future balance under $200,000

With less than $700,000 left to reach the $14.5 million goal in the Our Promising Future campaign to build the new science and mathematics complex, 1963 graduate Steve Gifford has challenged his fellow alumni to push this campaign over the top by the end of this year. If Union passes the $14 million mark by December 31, 2013, Gifford will give the remaining $500,000 to complete the campaign.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved and make their gifts triple in impact,” said John Wagner, president of Union College. “We can now complete the campaign right as we move into the new building.”

When the gift was first announced in July, Union still needed $290,000 to reach $14 million. But as of the end of August, donors have given nearly an additional $100,000 to bring the total amount needed to just under $200,000.

Gifford has made the challenge to Union College donors as a memorial to his wife, Beverly (’63), who passed away in 2012. The large periodic table of elements ( that will hang near the amphitheater of the new building will be named in her memory.

Beverly Troyer married Steve and left Union with him just one semester short of earning a degree in elementary education, then later pursued a career in nursing. “I know how much Beverly appreciated Union College,” said Gifford. “She always wished her bachelor’s degree could have come from Union.”

Union seemed a fitting place to memorialize his wife because of their positive experiences, both as students and later when Gifford served on the Union College Board of Trustees while president of the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. “Whenever I bump into someone from Union, the camaraderie is always there,” he explained. “It’s the human touch. I think Union has done a better job of that than any place I’ve ever been.”

After retiring as president of the Texas Conference, Gifford was invited by two former colleagues to become president of a new company they started—JetMall LLC, a Fort Worth based company that refurbishes jet aircraft. The company’s success has enabled Gifford to make the gift. “I live in a doublewide trailer and drive a 13-year-old Mercury,” explained Gifford. “Instead of spending money on myself, I’d rather spend it on God’s work.”

If you’d like to learn more about how to meet Gifford’s challenge, visit