November 01, 2022

During Homecoming–Reunion Weekend, five university supporters were inducted into the Susquehanna Society for their extraordinary philanthropy. The highest giving designation, the Susquehanna Society recognizes individuals and foundations who have contributed a total of $1 million or more to Susquehanna in their lifetime.

Robert I. Estill ’65

Robert I. Estill ’65 graduated from Susquehanna with a degree in business after having first attended Valley Forge Military College. As a student, Estill was a member of the university’s business society and was a brother of Phi Mu Delta.

Estill was also an accomplished student-athlete, playing multiple intramural sports and varsity football as an offensive tackle under Coach Jim Garrett. He captained the team during his senior season and, despite some adversity faced on and off the gridiron, he and his teammates showed tenacity, support and collegialism — fully exemplifying what it means to be Susquehanna student-athletes.

After graduating, Estill led a successful career in accounting, construction and real estate. He has attributed his success in business to the values instilled in him by Head Coach Jim Garrett and Assistant Coach Bob Pittello ’51. As an alumnus, Estill has remained a loyal supporter of Susquehanna athletics as both a fan and booster.

On Sept. 10, Susquehanna dedicated the Robert I. Estill Field House in honor of Estills significant philanthropy to the university, which has supported capital improvements to athletic facilities and equipment. Estill also established the Robert I. Estill Endowed Scholarship Fund, which supports students who qualify for financial aid.

Edward ’69 and Donna Schmidt

Edward R. Schmidt '69 Edward R. Schmidt ’69Edward R. Schmidt ’69, emeritus board member, graduated from Susquehanna with a degree in economics and later from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1972.

He is a retired partner of the Indianapolis based law firm, Krieg DeVault, LLP, where he chaired the tax-exempt and nonprofit organizations practice group and served as a member of the firm’s executive committee. Schmidt served as executive vice president, general counsel-secretary and was a member of the Board of Directors of USA Group, Inc., the largest guarantor of student loans in the United States.

Schmidt gained emeritus status after serving on Susquehanna’s Board of Trustees for 17 years, during which he served as a vice chair of the board and chair of its Compensation Committee.

In 2003, Schmidt established The Edward S. & A. Rita Schmidt Lectureship in Ethics. The Schmidt Lecture brings distinguished scholars and leaders to campus to speak publicly on contemporary topics and historic standards. Schmidt has emphasized his desire to impart to students an understanding and appreciation for the value and role of ethics in professional and personal endeavors. It is his vision that this lectureship will encourage and promote dialogue on ethical thinking in all areas of academic preparation and contribute to successful personal lives and professional careers upon graduation. In forming the lecture, Schmidt named it in honor of his late parents, Edward S. and A. Rita Schmidt, formerly of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, recognizing that the first teachers of ethics and moral behavior are parents.

Schmidt also endowed The March Fellowship in Ethical Leadership, named for Terry L. March ’67, which provides students the opportunity to research, publish, and present scholarly work related to ethical behavior and leadership.

By funding these initiatives, Schmidt has recognized and saluted Susquehanna University and its faculty and staff for the profound and formative experience he received while attaining his degree.

Schmidt is a member of the Board of Trustees of Strada Education Network, where he served as chairman from 2017–2020 and Indiana Hemophilia & Thrombosis Center, Inc. He also currently serves as the chairman of Healthcare Initiatives, Inc., an Indianapolis based charitable foundation and as a member of the Law School Advisory Council at the University of Notre Dame.

Schmidt was a founder and director of MetroBank, of Indianapolis, and a past director of Lumina Foundation for Education, Inc.; Crossroads Rehabilitations Centers of Indianapolis; Fairbanks Hospital; and Title Industry Assurance Company. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Land Title Association.

Schmidt is a member of several bar associations, including the Indianapolis Bar Association where he has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow.

He and his wife, Donna, are the parents of three adult sons, Jeffrey D. Schmidt, Esq., Todd E. Schmidt, M.D., and Michael J. Schmidt, Esq.

Kenneth C. and Elizabeth L. Tietgen P’97

In January, Kenneth C. and Elizabeth L. Tietgen P’97 established the Jennifer Linscott Tietgen ’97 Scholarship in memory of their late daughter, Jennifer Linscott Tietgen ’97. Their philanthropy also honors the 25th anniversary of Jennifer’s graduation from Susquehanna.

As a student at Susquehanna, Jennifer studied psychology. She also played varsity soccer and was a sister of Kappa Delta sorority. Upon graduating, she attended New Haven University and, despite a diagnosis of melanoma, earned a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology. She left New Haven with a promising future and an enviable career with Cisco Systems.

Though her disease progressed, Jennifer fought back with staunch resolution, fortitude and resilience, ever-present humor and unwavering hope; buoyed by the love and support of family and friends. Jennifer died June 13, 2002, and soon after the Jennifer Linscott Tietgen Foundation was established to develop her legacy and honor her commitment to making life better for others.

The fund established in her memory will support scholarships for students who qualify for financial aid. Scholarships may be awarded to first-year students, and may be awarded for additional years based on their academic merit and maintaining a GPA of 2.8 or higher.

As an endowed fund, the income generated will support generations of future Susquehannans in perpetuity, while honoring Jennifer’s enduring legacy.