Unexpected estate gift to build Hesston College endowment

Hesston College is one of six Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren organizations, including four higher education institutions, to receive a generous estate gift from Gunther Henry Schmitt, a doctor from San Bernadino, Calif., who passed away August 2.

Dr. Schmitt’s estate was left to Mennonite Brethren Foundation to be divided equally among the institutions and organizations. Hesston will use the more than $400,000 gift to build the college’s endowment. The endowment fund helps ensure the long-time financial health of the college and its programs.

Dr. Schmitt, who worked as a pharmacologist, internal medicine doctor and radiologist left no family and had no ties to Hesston College. His family was helped financially by Mennonite church agencies during World War II, and his gift to the college was a way of giving back to those who had helped during a time of need.

“We are grateful to Gunther Schmitt and to the Mennonite Brethren Foundation for the welcome and unexpected gift,” said President Howard Keim. “We are thankful that our current financial situation is such that we can use this gift for the long-term benefit of the college. We give thanks for people like Dr. Schmitt, who place a high value on institutions of faith-based higher education.”