CENTRE ASSOCIATE OF THE YEAR FOR 2004
ADELE AND H.W. “WES” STODGHILL
The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle used the word “magnificence” to denote a gift of wealth that is of such large scale that it can be said to exceed “generosity.” For the philosopher of the golden mean, in order for a gift to be considered either generous or magnificent, the donor must have the right amount at the right time for a worthy purpose. Magnificence further distinguishes the excellence of the achievement when the act of philanthropy involves an especially large amount.
Early last year, Centre College received word that it would be the recipient of a magnificent gift from the estate of Wes and Adele Stodghill. With current estimates of the value of this bequest set at $20 million, the Stodghill gift to Centre is the largest in the College’s 185-year history. This gift is, in fact, of sufficient size for it to be said that it exceeds mere generosity. Moreover, it comes at just the right moment to help Centre launch an effort that will take it to the next level in service and in national recognition.
While both the scale and timing of the Stodghill bequest meet Aristotle’s criteria, it is the worthy purposes to which this gift is directed that make it truly magnificent. Wes and Adele stipulated that their bequest to Centre be divided equally between endowment for student scholarships and endowment for faculty professorships and chairs. These purposes are at the heart of Centre’s educational mission, and the Stodghill gift will ensure a level of excellence in teaching and learning at the College in perpetuity.
Following his graduation from Centre in 1936, Wes Stodghill co-founded the Independence Life and Accident Insurance Company in Louisville. Despite the busy work schedule for an entrepreneur, he always found time for his alma mater. The spirit of his devotion to Centre is captured in a 1947 alumni questionnaire. In it Wes expressed a “willingness to work on any project for the betterment of Centre.”
Although she was not an alumna of the College, Adele shared her husband’s devotion to Centre. Over the years, Adele gracefully attended countless Centre functions as Wes served as President of the Alumni Association, then as an active member of the Board of Trustees for 28 years before taking emeritus status in 1994.
Always generous in their financial support, Wes and Adele were charter members of the Centre Associates. Additionally, in the last few years of their lives, the Stodghills made several very generous gifts to Centre. But their strong sense of both privacy and propriety precluded any public recognition of their philanthropy during their lifetimes. Adele died in May 2001 and Wes in December 2002. In appreciation for their final, magnificent gift to Centre College, we are pleased to recognize Adele and H.W. “Wes” Stodghill as Centre Associates of the Year for 2004.