Drs. James ’61 and Hildegard Vary Believe ‘It’s the Right Time for Gonzaga’

James and Hildegard VaryWhen Drs. James and Hildegard Vary began reflecting on their long-term philanthropic plans, they made a list of what was important to them. Since both already had enjoyed long careers in higher education, it was natural that their support would include a focus on schools. Included among their priorities are:

  • Quality of the faculty
  • Diversity of students and faculty
  • Fostering excellence
  • Giving deserving students a fair chance

From a conversation with David Dugan ’98, Gonzaga’s Vice President for Alumni and Advancement, the Varys were pleased to learn that their priorities aligned with those of the Forever Gonzaga Bicentennial Campaign. To support the campaign, the Varys have very generously established two endowed funds, The James ’61 and Hildegard Vary Endowed Scholarship Fund and The James Vary ’61 Endowed Chair in Science.

James Vary has been a member of the Iowa State University faculty since 1975. A career educator, he says, “I find it very exciting to learn how Gonzaga maintains its standards in our complex and fast-paced world today. I have a long-term interest in Gonzaga’s mission.”

James was introduced to that mission during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He holds fond memories of his Class of 1961, and is grateful for the impact of the many wonderful teachers while he was a student on Eye Street. He especially cites the guidance of Headmaster Father Anthony McHale, S.J. It was Fr. McHale who encouraged James to continue his Jesuit education at Boston College, where his life’s career in science was fostered. After graduating from Boston College, James went on to earn a degree from Yale (M.S. ’66 and Ph.D. ’70) and do postdoctoral studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, just to name a few. Today, James has authored or co-authored more than 475 publications and five books, and delivered more than 550 invited lectures at conferences and universities in more than 50 countries.

Hildegard Vary earned a doctorate in philosophy and enjoyed a long and distinguished academic career, during which she served in leadership positions at Iowa State University and other institutions. A native of Germany, Hildegard initially found American philanthropy to be counterintuitive—and inspiring.

“In Germany, the government supplies the opportunities to high-achieving students,” Hildegard says. “American institutions, on the other hand, have to work hard to give deserving students a fair chance. I find the commitment of schools like Gonzaga, who provide opportunities to those who otherwise could not afford such a quality education, to be very inspiring.”

By providing financial support today for both scholarship and programmatic endowed funds, the Varys can enjoy seeing the impact of their Forever Gonzaga Bicentennial Campaign support. Still, they are aware that the need for educational opportunities and excellence in teaching will continue to increase. For that reason, their support for their two endowed funds will continue with provisions made through their estate plans.

“Hildegard and I fully believe in the Forever Gonzaga Campaign and the importance of its success,” says James. “It’s the right time for Gonzaga.”

Your love for Gonzaga can be expressed through your estate plan in so many ways. By including us in your plans as the Varys did, you ensure that our students continue to receive an unmatched Jesuit education and become true men for others. Contact Daniel P. Costello ’72 at 202-336-7174 (office) or dcostell@gonzaga.org to learn more.

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