Creative Contributions Can Yield Big Returns
Left to right starting at the bottom:
Kevin Slenker, Ed Spangler, Tom Thompson, Russ Wise, Rob Schnarrs, John Bartges, Craig Benn, Al Brown,
Dave Bernitt, Jim Seidel, Glenn Lewis, Mike Murphy, George Podhar, J B Kauffman, Jim Osick, Boyd Henderson, Jon Schutz, Dave Brockway, Dave DeMers
Ed Spangler, ’77, found an innovative way to make a big change at Chi Phi, without breaking the bank.
Upon graduation in 1977, Ed Spangler took a path different from many of his brothers. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do post-college,” he admits. “So, I became a Chi Phi national consultant for three years. For me, it was a fabulous experience where I moved to a big city [Atlanta], traveled the country, met prominent alumni, and saw a bigger picture of what was possible.”
As an undergrad, Ed was drawn to Chi Phi initially because of friends already in the fraternity. There, Ed quickly found a place in which he could call home on a large campus. “There seemed to be a good connection as I was rushing,” he remembers. “Living in the house was a great experience. There you are, at the time of 36,000 undergrads, in a house with 45 people. At Chi Phi, I had my best friends and it gave me a connection in this huge university.”
Chi Phi also taught Ed that he could be creative in finding ways to give back to the fraternity. “While at Chi Phi, we started a capital campaign in memory of Tom Gehring. I learned that a capital campaign can raise a lot of money, but it isn’t the only way to support the fraternity.” That experience taught Ed that while opening your wallet and writing a large check is one way to give back, it wasn’t possible for everyone. So, shortly after graduation, as a kid with no money, Ed tapped into his creative side to find a way to support the fraternity that had given him so much.
“I decided to take out a life insurance policy, naming the Chi Phi Educational Trust as the beneficiary for only $90 per year and ended up turning it into a lot more. Two years after I retired, I realized the value of the policy was significant,” he proudly states.
And through the gift of perfect timing, Ed was able to give back to Chi Phi in a way that was very close to his heart. “I received a letter from the chapter that the library floors needed to be redone,” he explains. “I had spent so much time in that room, studying and admiring the beauty, and I felt the call to support this renovation.”
Left to right:
Dave Bernitt, Dave Lohr, Don Davis, Dave Brockway, Bob DeMers, Craig Benn, Russ Wise, Jim Osick, Ed Spangler, Glenda Spangler, Kevin Slenker, Bill Ross, J B Kauffman, Karen Kuenster (Osick) Glenn Lewis and Mark Landiak
While the impact of his contribution to the library floors will be felt for many years to come, Ed simply wants his brothers to remember that it isn’t always about the big numbers. “I found a way to be creative in how I can support Chi Phi,” he says. “You don’t have to open your checkbook and write a big number. It can be more modest than that. In my case, it was only $90 per year and yielded a big return for the fraternity.”
Today, Ed is on the opposite coast most of the time, residing with his wife in California’s wine country. With a condo in Chicago as well, Ed still finds plenty of ways to stay in touch with many of his Chi Phi brothers. “Chi Phi has been a lifelong experience. We have regular reunions and it’s amazing that in 2018, I still stay connected with friends from over 40 years ago.” In addition to the regular gatherings with his brothers, Ed enjoys traveling with his wife, hosting cocktail parties, and attending Cubs games.
Realizing the significant impact of his “modest” gift has given Ed hope that his story will inspire others to think outside of the box. He encourages his fellow brothers to do what they can to preserve and support the enduring brotherhood that Chi Phi represents. “Chi Phi is one of the most memorable times of my life. It is a lifelong experience, as evidenced by what my brothers and I continue to do.”
If you would like to connect with Ed, he can be reached at [email protected].