Wittenberg alumni of the class of 1942 and 1939, respectively, Ruth and Robert Bayley, both of Springfield, have committed $500,000 to improve and update the lobby of the campus’ Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center (HPERC).
“We had a wonderful education at Wittenberg,” Ruth Bayley said. “It’s followed us all our lives.”
“Wittenberg has always been a big presence in Springfield, and it has brought so many people to Springfield,” added Robert Bayley. “We wanted to give to a place that we knew and were confident would use our gift to its advantage.”
Featured in Newsweek’s 1993 special issue on “The American Dream,” the Bayleys have deep roots in Springfield. Members of the Bayley family were some of the city’s first business leaders dating back to the 19th century. Robert Bayley continued his family’s tradition of community leadership, serving as vice president and secretary of the William Bayley Company, founded by his grandfather, and as a Springfield attorney for more than 30 years. Prior to his retirement in the early 1980s, Robert also served as a member of the Ohio State Legislature and as a Springfield Police prosecutor.Ruth Bayley, an artist, former bookkeeper and former auditor, has volunteered in numerous capacities in her hometown, and is currently assisting with the renovation of the historic Pennsylvania House, one of the few original early American taverns left on the old National Road and Dayton-Springfield Pike. The house, built between 1838-1840, also contains one of the best collections of early American antiques of the period in Ohio.
As Wittenberg alumni, Robert and Ruth have consistently remembered their alma mater throughout the years. In 1994, the couple provided the lead gift to renovate the former Phi Kappa Psi fraternity into what is now the Bayley Alumni House, home to Wittenberg’s Office of Advancement. They also created an endowed scholarship, which benefits four to six students annually. More than 33 students have received a Bayley Scholarship since its establishment in 1998.
“We understand and admire the importance of education,” Robert said. “It’s a cumulative thing in that the more people that help, the better it gets.”
Renovation work is already underway on the HPERC lobby, which will energize the area and highlight Wittenberg’s athletic accomplishments both past and present. Included in the new space will be the Athletics Hall of Honor, the recently dedicated Bob Rosencrans Fitness Center, a large-scale shadow box featuring some of Wittenberg’s legendary coaches, and a range of high-tech additions and furnishings. The lobby will also be awash in Wittenberg red.For more information on Wittenberg’s athletic improvements, log on to www.wittenberg.edu.
- Karen Gerboth
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