Building a Legacy for the Future

Ron and Elsie Gaber

Ron and Elsie Gaber are using their estate plan to support the Truman State community through building projects and scholarship opportunities.

Ron and Elsie Gaber have been longtime loyal supporters of their alma mater. With Ron (’82) serving as Director of Residence Life/Housing from 1976 to 1988 and Elsie (’87) working as an academic planning counselor from 1980 to 1996, it seemed natural to give back to the institution that had been a part of their lives for so long. Through their generosity in giving, the Gabers have affected the lives of students in many ways.

The Gaber Achievement Award was established through a gift from Ron and Elsie to honor a residence hall student who exemplifies leadership and involvement in their residence hall’s activities. This award is currently funded by that initial gift, and will be increased later with a planned estate gift.

This year’s recipient of the award, Vidhi Patel, is interested in a career in health care and says her involvement as hall desk associate has developed leadership skills. A first-generation student, the award is a great help in funding her education.

However, the Gaber Achievement Award is not the end of Ron and Elsie’s commitment to the Truman campus community. Located on the south side of Magruder Hall, the Gaber Solar Clock Garden has a bounty of native Missouri plants as well as a large sundial. Horticulture students, under the supervision of Gaber Garden Caretaker Amanda Montgomery, plant annuals and care for perennials throughout the garden. A gnomon, the tall wooden pole that casts the shadows on the dial, was hewn from a red cedar tree that once grew in the sundial’s location. In the 16 years since the garden’s construction, it has become a favorite campus spot for students to gather, study and enjoy. “The Gaber Solar Clock Garden is a centerpiece that draws people to the sciences at Truman. Many students have been involved in caring for and learning in the garden. It is also an outstanding place for people on our campus to recharge and enjoy the outdoors. I am grateful to the Gabers for their continued support of this space,” says Dr. Tim Walston, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics.

The Gaber Solar Clock Garden is the result of the couple’s generous gift to cover the initial cost of construction as well as their subsequent pledge for an endowment dedicated to the garden’s upkeep and maintenance. The Gaber Solar Clock Garden Endowment additionally serves to fund future projects and cover auxiliary costs that may arise. The Gabers have also given a gift this summer to fund the addition of two new picnic tables in the garden, offering an enhanced space for gathering.

Ron and Elsie Gaber have touched the lives of so many students through their work at the university. “We’re happy to do what is needed to help enhance the garden. We dedicated the garden to the outstanding Truman science faculty and residence life staff members who teach, challenge and serve students in a compassionate and nurturing spirit,” says Ron.

Their influence will continue to touch the lives of our students, faculty and community long into the future because of the creative vision and generous support they have provided.

Like the Gabers, you too can invest in your passions at Truman State through a future gift. Contact Marie Murphree, CFRE, at 660-785-4124 or mmurphree@truman.edu to learn more about making an impact that will benefit future generations.