I’m sure you’ve noticed it. The college experience can sometimes draw young people away from the faith and morals they learned at home. As a result, some lead dramatically different lives than they might have otherwise known—and this has the potential to impact the future of our entire nation. Gary and Gloria Seib put it this way, “Our youth are the future of the Church and will influence social morals.” Considering that today’s young people are America’s future leaders, it is up to people like us to help as many students as possible pursue an excellent education while growing into spiritually and morally mature adults.
Gary and Gloria went on to say, “College students are very vulnerable to drifting away from the Church and practice of the faith. It is a critical time in their lives when they first leave the parental and parish nests and venture out with new independence and encounter alluring negative influences.” Gary recounts how he experienced real blessings from living and learning in the faith-focused community of St. Benedict’s, now Benedictine College. He graduated in 1967 and described it as a safe cocoon where he could spiritually mature while he gained an exceptional Benedictine liberal arts education.
In light of its positive impact, Gary and Gloria decided to take a closer look at Benedictine College and explore how they could achieve their own philanthropic goals through a Benedictine partnership. Through this process, the Seibs realized that Benedictine College would be the ideal partner in their plans to fund education in a way that would positively impact society and the church by training more spiritually-grounded graduates. In addition to being impressed with the college’s vision and excellent programs, the enthusiasm of its students and growing support from alumni and other committed partners, Gary was also able to fulfill another goal—simply “paying back” the scholarships he received that allowed him to attend St. Benedict’s College and to do for young people what others had done for him.
All this stemmed from his firm belief that “What we have is not ours; all that we have is a gift from God, of which we are only the stewards.” The powerful result of this thinking has come to life in the Gary J. and Gloria A. (Decker) Seib Chair of Theology, which they hope will “provide all future students at Benedictine College the opportunity to pursue and achieve moral and religious maturity by perpetuating the teaching of Jesus Christ as embodied in Divine Revelation.”
Benedictine College is extremely grateful for the impact this endowment will have on future generations—and especially for the trust that Gary and Gloria Seib have shown in the college itself. “The Gary J. and Gloria A. (Decker) Seib Chair of Theology will not even be funded until our passing from this life. Realizing that we can’t take material assets with us to the hereafter, ours is the time-limited and easy role in the task of accomplishing the goals we have set.” Gary and Gloria both want to encourage the professor and student beneficiaries of their endowment to “accept the challenge and make a difference.”