Sumner (DGE’52, CAS’54) and Shirley Sachs

An Enlightening Experience

An alumnus and his wife provide opportunity for future Terriers

Sumner and Shirley Sachs are the kind of couple who complete each other’s sentences, get each other’s humor, and offer a rich glimpse into a creative and energetic life together that spans 57 years—and includes 5 daughters, 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

He’s a retired Air Force colonel and financial professional. She’s trying to retire from the medical transcription company she started 30 years ago, but isn’t quite ready!

Both have ties to Boston University: Shirley through a medical technician’s course long ago, and Sumner (DGE’52, CAS’54) through his memories as a boy who “grew up watching them finish building the BU campus along Commonwealth Avenue.” He attended BU’s Division of General Education (now the College of General Studies), and completed his degree in geology in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“Attending BU was an enlightening experience,” Sumner remembers. “It opened my eyes to the world.” After his BU graduation, Sumner joined the Air Force, later working for Wang Labs and then as a corporate facility and real estate manager. Shirley, meanwhile, began her medical transcription business, eventually employing a staff of 25.

The Sachses have been generous to Boston University over the years, most recently with Sumner’s establishment of a charitable gift annuity. “There is an old adage,” says Sumner, “that money is like fertilizer: it makes things grow. And now there’s a great need for more accessible education—especially for young men and women who are being priced out of higher education, unfortunately.”

Sumner anticipates that his gift will one day contribute to student support at BU. Today, it provides a fixed income stream for the Sachses during their lifetime, along with a charitable income tax deduction and favorable treatment of capital gains.

“I’m very proud of BU,” says Sumner, “proud of its evolution into a world class research university, proud of what it has accomplished, and proud to be a BU donor.”