Lehigh University
Lehigh University

News

Beattie gift endows scholarships and helps at-risk students

Katherine and William G. Beattie ’59 visit Lehigh's Leadership Plaza .

Katherine and William G. Beattie ’59 of Danbury, Conn., have made a substantial gift to Lehigh University to create eight endowed scholarships and an endowed Access and Success Fund to support disadvantaged students from at-risk backgrounds.

In 2002, the Beatties endowed Lehigh’s S.T.A.R. Academies, a comprehensive academic program designed to prepare a diverse group of students from academically and economically disadvantaged backgrounds for college. Now, the endowment has grown to extend support to students attending Lehigh, offering financial support and on-campus resources to help ensure their success at the university.

“Bill and Kathie have devoted themselves to helping young people in tough situations receive an education that can set them on the path to incredible success,” says Lehigh President Alice P. Gast. “We are so grateful for their generosity, which will help keep Lehigh open to students from all backgrounds and help them excel in their studies.”

Beattie, who himself attended Lehigh on a scholarship, grew up in a single-parent home in Northeast Philadelphia and only aspired to college because of the mentoring influences of his pastor and chemistry teacher.

“The purpose of our gift was to reflect appreciation for the scholarship and financial support I received while at Lehigh and to support the outstanding Lehigh S.T.A.R. Academy program,” Beattie says. “In so doing, we wanted to construct a gift that would target ‘at-risk’ youth who were high potential candidates for Lehigh. Working with the university, the gift has been designed to provide the financial support to open the doors to Lehigh as well as to provide the on-going mentoring support to ensure success for the ‘at-risk’ student through graduation.”

A three-pronged approach

The Beatties’ gift will be used in three ways. Income from endowment will strengthen, expand and sustain the S.T.A.R Academies. The gift will also provide financial aid for eight Beattie Scholars—two in each Lehigh class – for deserving undergraduate students facing challenges that could keep them from pursuing a Lehigh education.

The scholarships will be awarded to students who have shown initiative, leadership skills, and community involvement. The recipients will be asked to participate in the S.T.A.R. Academy programs, offering support, in turn, to students at middle and high school levels.

Finally, the gift will endow the Access and Success Fund. The income from this fund will be used to hire a staffer for the Joint Multicultural Program, who will help identify Lehigh students from at-risk backgrounds and provide those who need it with support and mentorship. The goal is to help students build an on-campus support network that will assure that the students' Lehigh experience is successful.

“It is gratifying to know that the Beatties’ generosity in endowing the S.T.A.R. Academies in 2002 has grown to also provide scholarships and support services at the undergraduate level for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are grateful,” says Henry Odi, executive director of academic outreach, who cites Beattie as one of his mentors. “This will be a productive investment for the future.”

William Beattie is a 1959 graduate of Lehigh, where he majored in metallurgical engineering. During his time at Lehigh, Beattie was a member of the football team and played on the 1957 Lambert Cup team. He also holds the M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Following his graduation, Beattie worked for Union Carbide in various marketing and management positions, including regional director of Union Carbide Southern Africa. In 1986, he formed Strategic Minerals Corporation (Stratcor), a privately owned mining and metals company headquartered in Danbury, Conn. A controlling interest in the company was sold to Evraz Group S.A. in 2006. Beattie has remained as a minority shareholder and director.

In 1996, Beattie founded and funded Pathways Danbury, which enlists men from several metro Danbury churches as mentors for at-risk boys. There are currently 40 boys in the program. Some 80 percent of the boys in the program graduate from high school, and 80 percent of those go on to college.

In 2005, Beattie founded the Jericho Partnership of Danbury, a public charity whose faith-based mission is “to mobilize ministry and transform a city.” Jericho’s Goal is to award $5 million in annual grants and gifts to the at-risk community in Danbury, of which approximately 75 percent will go to youth. The balance will go to homeless and at-risk adult needs.

Katherine Beattie is a 1960 graduate of Cedar Crest College and is active with Bill as a member of the Walnut Hill Community Church.

The Beatties have maintained a close relationship with Lehigh since his graduation. In the early 1990s, they established the Strategic Minerals Scholarship for students studying chemical and materials engineering. The Beatties also host an annual reception on Nantucket for Lehigh alumni.

In addition, two of their three children and their spouses are Lehigh graduates. Michael Beattie and his wife, Laurel, are members of the Class of 1988. Daughter Elizabeth Ann and her husband, Matt Wylie, are Class of 1993. Daughter Vicki is a nursing missionary in Southern Sudan with the SIM Christian mission agency.

The Beatties’ gift is part of Shine Forever: The Campaign for Lehigh, a $500 million campaign focused on raising endowment for faculty chairs, undergraduate scholarships, academic programs, and student life and athletics, in order to win the finest students and faculty and continually enhance the quality and reputation of the university. With the help of dedicated alumni and friends like the Beatties, Lehigh will reach its goal of $500 million within the next five years.

--Janet Norwood

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007

share this story: