The Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association of Case Western Reserve University will distribute its remaining endowment in a series of gifts to Case Western Reserve University—a combined commitment of $5 million. The commitment was publicly announced on October 4, during the association's annual reunion tea honoring the fiftieth reunion class.
The commitment includes $2.6 million for scholarships, a $1 million challenge gift for the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, and nearly a dozen additional designations that support the performing arts, athletics, capital improvements, and presidential investments.
It also includes a leadership gift to Alumni House to ensure a Flora Stone Mather Alumnae presence in the house and name the Alumni House Living room in memory of Polly Bruner (FSM '37; BLS '38), who epitomized the philosophy and character of Flora Stone Mather.
"What greater gift could we give to future generations than supporting activities that nurture the body and spirit and ensure the existence of a women's center, a primary source of empowerment and leadership for students and staff," said Sandra Malek Vodanoff (FSM '59), final president of the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association. "Our name will not disappear."
Association members were informed of the gift privately last June, when the 114-year-old association held it final annual meeting at the university's Squire Valleevue Farm in Hunting Valley.
The commitment concludes a three-year process of determining the best way to dissolve the association while ensuring its legacy at the university. Even though Flora Stone Mather College has not existed as a separate entity within Case Western Reserve University since 1972, the nearly 4,800 living Flora Stone Mather alumnae wanted to be confident that the university was ready to carry on the Mather College tradition and spirit.
"There is no doubt about the significance of the university having its first woman president," said Continuity Committee Chairwoman Patricia B. Kilpatrick, who herself was a pioneer at Case Western Reserve, having served as the university's first woman vice president. "Barbara Snyder embraces our tradition. We feel we can rest assured that the future is in good hands."
Snyder has affirmed her commitment to the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association on multiple occasions, even appearing at the association's 2007 Annual Meeting before her formal installation as Case Western Reserve University's president.
"One of the great pleasures of my first year as president has been getting to know the alumnae of Flora Stone Mather College," President Snyder said. "These graduates are passionately committed to the university and to serving the women who have followed them on our campus. They've contributed to so much progress here, and I look forward to their continued engagement."
The association's commitments also celebrate the philanthropic legacy of Flora Stone Mather. In addition to her role in the establishment of the College for Women at Western Reserve (later renamed in her honor), Mather was a role model for philanthropy among women and throughout Cleveland, valuing it as the highest relationship between the individual and society.
"Flora Stone Mather would be very pleased by these final gifts," noted Gladys Haddad, professor of American studies at Case Western Reserve and author of Flora Stone Mather: Daughter of Cleveland's Euclid Avenue & Ohio's Western Reserve. "She felt her own gifts of money and time helped 'develop and spread wider the circle of light' that emanates from proud, educated women."
With the dissolution of their alumnae association, Flora Stone Mather graduates will receive support from the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University, the Office of University Alumni Relations, and the College of Arts & Sciences.