Barry McNamara  |   Published April 26, 2021

A Gift to Pay Back President Grier

Marilyn Rogers Brodd ’51 supports her alma mater and that of her husband, who she met on blind date, with an estate gift to ‘Light This Candle’ campaign.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – In the late 1940s, Marilyn Rogers Brodd was encouraged to stay at Monmouth College by none other than President James Harper Grier.

MONMOUTH COLLEGE: In the midst of Light This Candle capital campaign, support from alumni such as... MONMOUTH COLLEGE: In the midst of Light This Candle capital campaign, support from alumni such as Marilyn Rogers Brodd '51 is greatly appreciated.“It was my freshman year, and I thought about not coming back,” said Brodd of Raleigh, North Carolina. “He offered me a $250 scholarship. It wasn’t really money that was holding me back, but just the fact that he was willing to do that has stuck with me. It’s so important for anyone who wants an education to be able to get one. I’m happy to support Monmouth with a gift, and I hope this helps in some way to make that possible.”

Brodd’s estate gift was arranged after consultation with her son, Randy, who serves as her financial adviser. It will count toward the College’s Light This Candle campaign, which will raise a minimum of $75 million for Monmouth’s endowment by Dec. 31, 2022.

Brodd eventually did leave Monmouth before graduating to work in Chicago, but on a return trip to campus, she went on a blind date with Wayne Brodd ’50, arranged by Ginnie Hessler Salter ’51 and Bob Smick ’50. That led to a marriage of nearly 60 years before Wayne died in 2009. The couple had three children, which has led to eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

“One of the highlights of my time at Monmouth was the friendships I made,” said Brodd. “I reconnected with Ginnie. I hadn’t talked to (Winbigler Hall roommate) Pat Clark Edmonds in a couple years.”

A call from Dean Jean

The late Edmonds wasn’t quite a “townie,” but she didn’t live far from campus, and Brodd recalled a memorable trip to her home.

“Pat’s dad let us ride out to their farm in Little York on the back of a pickup truck,” she said. “Mrs. Clark got a phone call from Dean Liedman about that – Dean Jean.”

Brodd also recalled being in Gracie Peterson’s famous stage shows and singing a duet with Jim Nixon ’50.

“It’s so important for anyone who wants an education to be able to get one. I’m happy to support Monmouth with a gift, and I hope this helps in some way to make that possible.” Marilyn Rogers Brodd ’51

“It’s a very important part of my life, the friendships I made at Monmouth,” said Brodd. “There are many places I choose to support, and Monmouth is one of them.”

Brodd hasn’t been on campus since returning in 2000 and 2001 to celebrate her and her husband’s 50-year reunions in back-to-back years.

“I have one of those panoramic pictures of the whole student body,” she said. “My dad mounted it on a piece of Samsonite or something. I brought it back for the reunion. It was very popular. It made the rounds.”


Family connection

Brodd came to Monmouth from Oak Park-River Forest High School in the Chicago suburbs. The connection to the College was her brother, Howard Rogers ’42, who attended Monmouth for one year.

“He joined the National Guard and was part of a mounted troop in Chicago, the Black Horse Troop,” said Brodd. “His service time was almost up, and then Dec. 7 happened. He fought in the war and was captured at the Battle of the Bulge. He spent four months in a German prison, then escaped through a pipe, the day before Gen. Patton and his troops came and freed the camp. He lived to be over 90.”

After attending Monmouth for two years, Marilyn’s husband earned a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois. He spent his career working for IBM.

The Brodds lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, before moving to North Carolina in 1966. The next year, they had a house built, where Marilyn still resides today.

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