Pair of Estate Gifts Totals $1.15 Million

Two estate gifts to Nebraska Wesleyan University totaling more than $1 million will benefit students for generations.

A Nebraska Wesleyan alumna who worked in the public library system for 38 years left the university $510,000 through her estate.Lucile Fritz in 1934

Lucile Fritz (’34), who died March 30, 2011, spent the bulk of her career working for the public library system in Springfield, Ill. She retired in 1980 as head of the library’s reference department.

Fritz enrolled at Nebraska Wesleyan in 1931 after graduating from Columbus High School in Columbus, Neb. She earned a degree at NWU in English with a minor in French and belonged to the Willard Sorority and the YWCA. After her gift to Nebraska Wesleyan, the remainder of her estate benefited the Lincoln Library in Springfield.

“Lucile valued education highly, and it was at Nebraska Wesleyan that she must have fallen in love with research, libraries and the field of library science,” said Anne Toepker, a friend of Fritz’s. “I suspect she wished to make sure that others would continue to receive the same quality of access to information and opportunity that she experienced at Nebraska Wesleyan, and saw the bequest as a way to do this.”

Fritz’s gift to NWU was split, with half the gift to fund building improvements to NWU’s Cochrane-Woods Library, and the other half to be placed in an endowed fund. Income from the Lucile Fritz Endowed Fund will be used to purchase library materials.

The university also received a final installment from the Eldon Bowman estate. Bowman, who farmed in Boone County, Neb., died in 1980 and his estate has made a variety of gifts to NWU beginning in 1991. The final distribution from the estate was recently made to NWU, bringing the cumulative estate gift to more than $642,000. The estate has helped fund various campus projects over the years, including repairing the university’s pipe organ. The bulk of the estate will go toward science education.

Bowman split his estate between Nebraska Wesleyan University and Hastings College.