Honoring a Family Legacy

Published on 10 December 2020

At University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, our roots run deep. Since 1864, generations of graduates have left their mark on the institution and established lifelong relationships from which they draw support and a sense of community throughout their careers.

The connections between students, faculty, staff and alumni are the foundation of the close-knit community for which the University is known. They also contribute to an environment where future health care professionals and leaders can explore new ideas and discover their passions.

Robert Reuter, B.S. ’56, came from a long line of health care professionals, including his father and sister who were both alumni. Reuter grew up in his father’s pharmacies and saw the positive impact they made in the community. He too felt a passion for making a difference, and after graduating from the institution, he returned to his father’s pharmacies to continue the work his family started.

To honor his family’s legacy, Reuter decided to support the next generation of pharmacists. In 1997, he established the Hulda W. and Herman W. Reuter Memorial Scholarship and the Virginia A. Reuter ’43 Memorial Scholarship in memory of his parents and sister.

As a scholarship sponsor, Reuter remained connected to the institution by attending various events, including the Scholarship Awards Dinner, each year. He shared his experiences with family members Janice Kemper and Mike and Janice Spathelf, who cared for Reuter as he grew older.

While not alumni, Kemper and the Spathelfs began joining their cousin for the Scholarship Awards Dinner when they could and began to develop relationships of their own.

“As we got to know more people at the institution, it always felt like a personal relationship,” Mike Spathelf said. “They approached fundraising in a different way than other places, which we liked. They let us get to know the institution and make the decision on how we wanted to be involved.”

The more they attended events with Reuter, the more their passion for education and connection to the institution and its mission grew.

“As we learned more about pharmacy and the work of the institution, we just became more and more interested,” Mike Spathelf explained. “It opened my eyes to the way these pharmacists are tied into their community.”

“The students who graduate from here are more than pharmacists — they become entrepreneurs, start businesses and are an integral part of the community,” Janice Spathelf added. “Education is important to both of us, and having a role in supporting these students’ education and the community has been a great joy for us.”

After Reuter’s death in 2009, the Spathelfs and Kemper continued to contribute to his scholarships and even established the Robert A. Reuter ’56 Memorial Scholarship to further honor his memory.

As time went on, the group saw an opportunity to leave their own legacy at the University and make sure that students continue to receive support for years to come.

In 2019, the Spathelfs established The Kemper and Spathelf Endowed Scholarship, which will be funded through a gift from the Spathelfs’ estate. As an endowed scholarship, the award will be distributed each year from the interest earned on the fund, supporting generations of future students.

Kemper also designated a gift from her estate, which will be distributed equally between the three Reuter scholarships in order to increase the annual amount distributed to students each year.

“By honoring our family through our estates, we are able to ensure the future of student success at the institution,” Janice Spathelf said. “We hope that the little bit we give will help and encourage other students to come here as well as inspire them to continue to give back as they get older.”

“What these students are learning today is going to help everyone in the future,” Mike Spathelf continued. “We hope we live a long, long time, but this way, we know the institution and its students have guaranteed support.”

A Lasting Impact

Through a planned gift, you can support future generations while also honoring meaningful memories, moments or loved ones. Since the first planned gift to the institution in 1921, planned gifts have provided support in countless ways, from scholarships and financial aid to infrastructure improvements and campus expansion.

Many planned gifts will not affect your existing financial resources but will have a lasting impact on the University. If you are interested in making a planned gift to the University, the Office of Advancement will work with you to find a charitable plan that allows you to provide for your family while supporting the University.

Learn more about planned giving at the University

To discuss giving options and ways to make a lasting impact at the University, contact Kathy Gardner, vice president for advancement and chief development officer, at 314.446.8389.

This story was first published in the fall 2020 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive.

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