Why Our Donors Give
Jane & Mark Roberts: A Shared Commitment
It was at the Cabot Elementary School in Newton, Mass., where Jane (’73) began her career as a student teacher finishing her degree from Wheelock College, and Mark (’76, Questrom’85), fresh out of Brown University, got his first job. The two quickly became a couple.
“I always wanted to be an elementary school teacher,” says Jane, who was born in Boston.
For Mark, teaching was a revelation, setting him on a career path he hadn’t envisioned. He decided to go to Wheelock for a graduate degree in education, then later pursued an MBA at BU and a career in corporate banking. But his passion for education never waned.
“I was a teacher who was playing banker in a three-piece suit,” says Mark. So he returned to the classroom. He joined the Questrom School of Business faculty after leaving Fleet Bank in 2003. He retired from Questrom in 2017.
The couple joined the board of trustees at Wheelock, which hadn’t yet merged with BU, in 2011, after Jane had retired. There, they saw the growing need for financial aid, so they established the Roberts Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, supporting Boston residents seeking a career in education. BU’s Century Challenge will match the fund’s spendable income for 100 years. Because of the match, the Robertses decided to increase their commitment.
“We literally looked at each other and said, this is what we need to be doing,” Jane says.
By Michael McDonald
Elizabeth Fung: Honoring Mentors, Past and Future
Born in mainland China, Elizabeth Fung (’61) grew up in Taiwan and came to Wheelock College at 16. “I was not fluent in English,” she says, “but I did know some because my parents were in diplomatic service.” Still, she struggled in literature classes—particularly with Shakespeare.
So Professor S. Wilcox Harvey, who was teaching English at Wheelock, started tutoring her every Saturday morning. “He did it for my whole freshman year,” marvels Fung. “He was a very understanding and supportive person.”
Fung has endowed the S. Wilcox Harvey Faculty Mentorship Fund to encourage BU Wheelock faculty to follow Harvey’s example. The fund will support training resources, workshops, conferences, and other professional development related to mentoring students.
Fung chose to honor her professor, she says, “because Dr. Harvey was so consistent and dependable, and he made me feel very hopeful that things would work out.” She credits that early support for her successful career in social work and adds, “Now that I have retired, I can understand more the kindness he showed by taking time every Saturday morning.”
“That sounds so much like him. He was one of those people who always found time for you,” says the professor’s great-nephew, Steve Harvey. “When I heard about the gift, I was just thrilled, because he’s one of the most special people in my life.”
Thanks to Fung, he’ll be remembered as a special person at BU Wheelock, too.
By Louise Kennedy