Springfield, Ohio – Lamar Kilgore, Wittenberg class of 1955, remembers fondly his days at Wittenberg and the impact they had on shaping his moral compass and success. He now wants to give back and inspire others to do the same with his recent $5.1 million estate gift.
“My family’s gift is grounded in the desire to see the product of our lifetime of effort provide benefit beyond our lifetime,” Kilgore said. “Certain that others have been similarly enriched by their Wittenberg experiences but have yet to experience the joy which giving to our great university provides, I am hoping that our gift will challenge others to do the same.”
“What Lamar has set in motion with his generous gift is both inspiring and energizing to all of us at Wittenberg,” added Dr. Mark H. Erickson, Wittenberg president. “His gift will not only shape our students’ understanding of peace, tolerance and global citizenship, but it will allow us to recognize and attract the absolute best and brightest faculty, a longstanding strength of the university.”
Kilgore hopes his gift will encourage students to become responsible citizens who engage in the broader world, and who address complex, moral and ethics issues, ultimately making this a better world. The gift will provide two endowed faculty chairs and a fellowship dedicated to this exploration, while also providing assistance to Wittenberg’s nationally ranked golf team.
The first endowed chair, the R. Lamar Kilgore Endowed Chair in Global Citizenship, will focus on preparing students for active roles in various global systems and global issues as it connects with several of Wittenberg’s existing programs, including East Asian studies, and Russian and Central Eurasian studies. The second endowed chair, the R. Lamar Kilgore Endowed Chair in Peace Studies, will examine the impact of diplomacy, nonviolent social action and/or individual pacifism. The third, the Kilgore Family Fellowship Toward Justice for Animals, will complement Wittenberg’s proposed Moral Literacy track designed to help students contend with complex moral problems such as animal rights.
The youngest of three sons, Kilgore was born in Springfield to Acy, a machinist, and Mae, a homemaker, who were both children of tenant farmers. He attended Springfield High School, where he was a member of the 1950 Class A Ohio State Basketball Champions. After graduating from high school, Kilgore headed to Wittenberg where he majored in political science.
Looking back at his time at Wittenberg, Kilgore recalls a curriculum that offered a spectrum of studies, spanning the sciences to the arts which, coupled with the warm benevolence of the faculty, provided a comfort zone that encouraged him to make the right choices.
Following his graduation from Wittenberg, Kilgore entered the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Law. He then practiced law for 47 years, with the last decade spent with Kilgore and Lawson, P.C., in West Chester, Pa., until his retirement in 2007.
The author of several published articles in the legal field, Kilgore also penned A Buckeye Boyhood: Tales, Messages, Memories, Ruminations, which he dedicated to his parents “whose gift of genes and living example of courage and determination provided me with an expanded horizon.”
Written By: Karen Gerboth