Holy Cross Lands Near-Record Gift

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A $2 million donation will provide assistance to military veterans and their families. The Nicholas Spehar Memorial Scholarship is named in honor of a Holy Cross student's brother who lost his life in combat. The South Bend-area school says it is the second-largest single gift in its history. October 30, 2013

News Release

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Thanks to the generosity of Guy "David" Gundlach and the Elkhart County Community Foundation, military veterans and their families will benefit from a $2 million grant to fund annual scholarships at Holy Cross College. This scholarship program will assist up to twenty students per year.

The second largest single donation in college history, the Nicholas Spehar Memorial Scholarship is named for a 24-year-old Navy SEAL killed in combat August 6, 2011. He was the brother of a former Holy Cross College student, Marie (Spehar) Mielke.

The Nicholas Spehar Memorial Scholarship is renewable and Gundlach stipulated that it be awarded to siblings, spouses or children of fallen veterans, children or spouses of living veterans or active service personnel, veterans themselves, or other needy students who have special circumstances due to military service. First priority will be given to family of fallen Navy Seals.

Gundlach, a 1973 graduate of Elkhart Memorial High School who went on to great success in the insurance industry and business, is known by family and friends for his kind heart and dedication to his humble roots. Sadly, Gundlach died at age 56 of a heart attack in his Malibu home, just two months after Spehar's helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan.

Even before he died, the Elkhart County Community Foundation began to carry out Gundlach's wishes, finalizing details for the scholarship and making it possible for military families at Holy Cross College to benefit immediately.

"Holy Cross College, which is a designated 'Military Friendly' school, is thrilled to be able to offer this substantial scholarship to the beloved survivors of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom," says Brian Studebaker, Director of Enrollment Management. "We are grateful to the late David Gundlach for his generous donation and to the Elkhart Community Foundation for their unwavering commitment in following David's wishes. This is going to help a lot of students!"

Established in 1989, the ECCF has awarded more than $40 million in grants. Gundlach, who over the years also supported Catholic grade schools, a crisis pregnancy center, an orphanage and the performing arts, is the largest donor in ECCF history.

For more information on the Spehar Scholarship, please link to the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNE56qv5DV8

To learn more about Holy Cross College visit the website at www.hcc-nd.edu.

Holy Cross College is a Catholic, four-year, co-educational, liberal arts institution founded in 1966 by the Brothers of Holy Cross. With a 13:1 faculty/student ratio, students find personal attention from professors who care about their success and development in mind, body, and spirit. The Four Pillars of the core curriculum include academic instruction, professional internship, service to others, and a global perspective experience, culminating in a senior Capstone experience, which synthesizes and assesses each student’s learning. Located in Notre Dame, Indiana, Holy Cross College provides the best of both worlds: a close-knit, small college atmosphere with the resources and social opportunities of a large university.

Source: Holy Cross College