FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A couple with deep roots here in Fort Wayne has left millions of dollars to IPFW. Officials there say the $3.4M gift was completely unexpected. And it’s hard to tell if the couple knew what kind of impact this would make. School officials say the Weitzman’s estate gift is directed to be used to pay for two four-year degrees: one engineering student as well as a student studying teaching. What the couple didn’t know is the school has decided to use the entire gift to pay for full-ride scholarships for many students.
“We will be able to support many, many students with this gift. Not just a couple as was indicated,” IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein said.
Little did Oscar and Ophelia Weitzman know their large gift would make a big difference in the life of many students at IPFW. Especially with the cost of a college education on the rise.
“IPFW while it is an affordable option, working a part-time job will just not cover the expenses of a college education,” IPFW official Wendy Kobler said.
School officials say Oscar worked at General Electric in Fort Wayne for 50 years and died in 1989. As for his wife Ophelia, she had two degrees from Indiana University and taught in the Fort Wayne Community Schools for 19 years. She passed two years ago.
The bank just recently got ahold of IPFW to let leaders know about the unexpected gift.
“You get a phone call one day and it is a huge gift that is being given to you and you had no idea it was coming. Their generosity and their support is just wonderful,” Carwein said.
In fact they say it’s the largest ever given to the university.
“This gift is certainly one of a kind and is the first to our knowledge for scholarships for students,” Kobler said.
“What a way to start the academic year,” Carwein said.
The first set of full-ride scholarships will be given to two students next fall.