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Generosity grows through matching gifts

They met at freshman orientation. Their romance blossomed in the fall of 1961 when they saw each other again as the school year began. Now married nearly 45 years, Howard ’66 and Sue Keele Carver ’66 are grateful to have shared in the Bradley experience: an ideal combination of outstanding scholastics, leadership opportunities, and social activities.

Just as Bradley has played an integral role in their lives, the Carvers are now doing their part to position Bradley for the future. They have made gifts to Bradley in two ways: planned giving and matching gifts.

The couple has participated in the matching gifts program with Howard’s employer, Ernst & Young since 1967. “I thought it was a great idea and an easy way to leverage my dollars,” says Howard. Most recently, through a matching gift from his company, the Carvers were able to contribute $100,000 toward the expansion of Westlake Hall.

In recognition of their gift, the Assistive Technology Center (ATC) on the second floor of Westlake will be named in the Carvers’ honor. A hands-on teaching and learning laboratory, the ATC will allow students to learn to evaluate, select and apply assistive technology for individuals with disabilities in school, home and community settings. The goal is to enable individuals to function as fully as possible in their daily lives. The learning lab will include materials and technologies for evaluation and learning, such as laptop and desktop computers with adaptive keyboards and software, special acoustics for the hearing impaired, instructional games and hands-on devices.

The Carvers found the Center to be of special interest, first because their son deals with the effects of his battle with diabetes and a resulting brain injury and second, because of the value they place on education—particularly with Sue’s background in teaching.

Howard has a degree in accounting, and the Carvers have directed their gifts to the Foster College of Business for many years. Sue graduated as a math and foreign languages major with a certificate to teach 6th through 12th grades. With the expansion of Westlake Hall underway, the couple decided to focus on a gift to benefit the education department. “It was time to allow Sue to think about what she wanted to do for Bradley,” Howard says.

The Carvers also have included Bradley in their will. Howard says, “The easiest gift, a gift after death, is probably the biggest kingpin to my charitable giving thought process. It’s such a critical part of how organizations build their endowments and pave the way to the future.”

While their philanthropy will help build a future for Bradley, the Carvers also enjoy reflecting on their years at Bradley. Sue, originally from Chesterfield in southern Illinois, came to Bradley as a State Scholar. The third of three children, affordability was a key factor in choosing a school, and Bradley offered her the scholarships she needed. “Bradley was very helpful in finding ways for me to pay for my schooling. It offered a lot of things I couldn’t find otherwise. I was able to take 18 hours each semester as long as I had a good GPA. I took 12 hours of classes for two summers and graduated in three years.” 

Howard, a native of Chicago, wasn’t interested in attending a large school. He wanted to go to a university with a strong business program. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Bradley, he earned a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and accepted a position in the Springfield, Illinois, office of what became Ernst & Young.

Reflecting on his career, his education and his decision to give to Bradley, Howard says, “It’s not hard to give back when you look at where we came from with humble beginnings. I marched up the ladder pretty quickly, and with the firm’s willingness to match dollars, I couldn’t think of a better way to give.”