“I don’t just give randomly. I give to programs that matter greatly to me.”
In the 47 “amazing” years he has been at TU, Richard Vatz says that every single class he’s taught or guest expert he’s invited into his classroom has been a reward. A professor in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development, Vatz characterizes students as curious, hard-working and hungry for knowledge. “Guaranteeing their future has been an honor,” he says. “The education and support they get here will last forever. Students always think back to their professors and might not realize it now, but in 10, 20, 30 years, they will recognize the meaningful experiences they had.”
A volunteer on the RISE Campaign Committee, Vatz says he doesn’t give as much of his time now as he did when he lived closer to the university. “I try to be a good citizen” he says. “When I think of giving time, it’s often difficult to choose because there are so many areas I could give my time to.”
Vatz also provides philanthropic support to programs that matter greatly to him and “doesn’t just give randomly.” After all his years at TU, his generosity has been significant and far-reaching, including support for the Debate Team, Communications Studies Department, The Elizabeth Wainio Scholarship, Tiger Athletics, the Albert S. Cook Library, College of Education and the Hillel Fund, among others too numerous to mention. Probably a bit surprising, Vatz says “Athletics interests me, specifically tennis.” And, he appreciates the value athletics bring to the college experience.
He is also particularly passionate about supporting the marketplace of ideas—specifically academic freedom and freedom of speech and has recently committed significant support to the Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Scholarship Endowment and Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute (NGLI)—calling Nancy Grasmick and the work of the Institute “extraordinary.”
Vatz believes his love of teaching and great affinity for TU is a credit to his fellow faculty colleagues and the students who inspire him and serve as a constant source of positive support. The same could be said of Vatz and his almost half century of support for TU for which we are truly grateful.