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Cumberlands Receives Bequest from Louis Staak,Presented by His Family


From left to right, Ed McGrath and Beth Wyatt, assistants to the president at University of the Cumberlands, accept from Spencer Staak and Emma Staak a facsimile check that represents a bequest for the University from the children’s grandfather, Louis Staak.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky.—On June 15, University of the Cumberlands welcomed the family of Louis Staak, Edward Staak and his children, Emma, 12, and Spencer, 7, of Hinsdale, Ill. The Staak family members presented representatives of the University, Ed McGrath and Beth Wyatt, with a bequest of $109,820.00, from the estate their father and grandfather.

When Staak, a longtime resident of Fort Wayne, Ind., passed away on December 31, 2008, he left his family a rare legacy—the legacy of giving. A faithful friend of the University for many years, he taught his son and grandchildren the importance of giving. He believed in Cumberlands and gave generously of himself so that others might have the opportunity to further their careers and have better lives through education. He instilled this belief in his family. A few years ago he brought them to Kentucky to visit the University and to show them how his generosity had helped others. Ed Staak said that there were reminders of Cumberlands all around his parents’ home, including videos of Christmas music by the University’s choral groups and pieces of pottery, created by a former faculty member, that the school sent as thank-you gifts to acknowledge the Staaks’ kindness.

“My parents looked forward to a visit from Beth Wyatt, and it was a special day when she visited. They felt their gifts had a human connection, and that made a difference to them. The University is very good at putting human faces in communities around the country,” said Staak.

Emma, who created the facsimile check used in the presentation, learned well from her grandfather and recently raised $2,000 in an email campaign for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She said, “[My grandfather] was always helping people.”

To honor Louis Staak, the University will name the classroom in its Hutton School of Business, where the presentation took place, in his honor, and at a later date, Staak’s portrait will hang there as a reminder to future students of his benevolence. His family members will carry on the tradition of giving, which he exemplified throughout his life.