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1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania receives $2.9 million gift from 1937 graduate; second largest estate gift in school’s history

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University has received a $2.9 million bequest from the estate of Margaret J. Lewis. This is the second largest estate gift in Transylvania’s history. The late Mrs. Lewis received her bachelor’s degree from Transylvania in 1937, with an English major and French and biology minors.

“Mrs. Lewis cared deeply about Transylvania and her wish was to establish a professorship or a named scholarship,” said President Charles L. Shearer. “Raising funds to support student scholarships and faculty endowed chairs are both goals of our 225th Anniversary Campaign. We will consider several options before deciding how to best honor Margaret’s memory and wishes.”  

Mrs. Lewis grew up outside Chicago and moved to South Carrollton, Ky., as she was entering high school. Richard Valentine, vice president for alumni and development, said that Mrs. Lewis met her husband, Ed, during a trip to Europe following her graduation from Transy. “Mr. Lewis spent the majority of his career teaching at the University of Illinois, and their nearly $6 million estate was split between Transylvania and the University of Illinois,” said Valentine.

After retirement, the Lewises lived in Laguna Beach, Calif., for over 30 years.

“We are pleased that Mrs. Lewis’s Transylvania education meant so much to her and are grateful that more than 70 years after she graduated, she will have such a positive impact on her alma mater,” Valentine said.