Barry McNamara  |  Published September 02, 2021

$500,000 Gift

Nancy Forsyth Flanders ’54 still supporting Monmouth after all these years.

MONMOUTH, Ill.Nancy Forsyth Flanders ’54 owes a debt of gratitude to her Monmouth College classmate Mary Fleschner Knobeloch. She was the student who “graciously” gave up her seat so that Forsyth could sit next to classmate Tom Flanders during daily chapel service, where students were seated alphabetically.

SIDE BY SIDE: A relationship that started at Monmouth College and was enhanced by sitting next to... SIDE BY SIDE: A relationship that started at Monmouth College and was enhanced by sitting next to each other in daily chapel grew into a 63-year marriage for 1954 classmates Tom and Nancy Forsyth Flanders. The couple married a few months after Nancy graduated. Now, seven decades later, Nancy is paying off another debt of gratitude through a deferred gift, as she’s named the College a beneficiary of her IRA.

It’s a gift of which she knows her late husband of 63 years would approve.

“Tom and I started a trust in 2000,” said Nancy, who lives in Whitewater, Wisconsin. “I decided over the last few years that I wanted to make a gift to Monmouth College. I know Tom would want that, too.”

Lighting a campaign candle

Nancy was happy that the timing of her $500,000 gift lined up with the College’s Light This Candle capital campaign, which has a goal of raising a minimum of $75 million by Dec. 31, 2022.

“I wanted my gift to go toward scholarships,” she said, which is one of the four “candles” of the campaign, which recently topped $67 million with more than a year of fundraising to go.

“Tom and I started a trust in 2000. I decided over the last few years that I wanted to make a gift to Monmouth College. I know Tom would want that, too.” Nancy Flanders

The other candles include creating more opportunities for faculty and staff support and academic innovation; adding to a capital improvements fund that supports campus infrastructure; and creating a stronger financial base for the College by building an even stronger culture of philanthropy.

Nancy’s gift has established a scholarship in her and her husband’s name for students majoring in science (biology, chemistry or biochemistry). Scholarships are important to her, she said, because they helped make her Monmouth experience possible.

“I started out with a $1,000 academic scholarship,” she said. “My father died in August before the start of my sophomore year, and I really appreciated that I could get other scholarships to stay in school.”

A strong student in the sciences, Nancy also secured one of the highest-paying campus positions for a student, working as a lab assistant. She graduated with a degree in biology and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Tom, who was in Theta Chi, left Monmouth midway through his junior year to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program, which led to him serving as a Marine Corps pilot.

The couple returned to Monmouth a few years later so Tom could finish his physics degree, with Nancy taking a job at a hospital in Galesburg. She later worked as an office administrator for Edward Jones, while Tom was employed as an engineer in the food industry, including many years with the former Beatrice Food Co.

When another ‘F’ is a good thing

“I met Tom at a mixer,” Nancy recalled. “Then in chapel, there was one person sitting between us, because I was Forsyth and he was Flanders. She graciously gave up her seat so that I could sit next to him every day. He was my college sweetheart.”

“Monmouth was a truly wonderful time in my life and I have always looked back on those years with the fondest of memories.” Nancy Flanders

Nancy came to Monmouth from Des Moines, Iowa. Her parents had attended college, and she knew she wanted that experience, as well. What she didn’t want, after attending a large high school, was another crowded place. Through her Presbyterian church, she learned about Monmouth and was sold on the small liberal arts college after her visit.

“Monmouth was a truly wonderful time in my life and I have always looked back on those years with the fondest of memories,” said Nancy, who inquired how many other members of the Class of 1954 were still alive. “I want the survivors of my class to know that I’m still supporting Monmouth College.”

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