Fraternity brothers past fuel Denisonians of the future

issue 02 | spring 2023
Ed McNew '54 and President Adam Weinberg

In the early 2000s, Ed McNew and the late Carl Jochens ’54, friends and Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers, wanted to do something to support Denison and honor their fallen brothers — specifically to help accomplished Denison students who really needed it.

“We had talked a lot about doing something,” McNew said in a recent phone interview from his home in Irvine, California. “And we finally managed to put something together.”

They and seven other Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers worked together, each chipping in a few hundred dollars to get the fund started. McNew and Jochens subsequently made larger gifts — in the neighborhood of $100,000, McNew said — and Denison helped create the award in 2005.

Since then, the Delta Upsilon Class of 1954 Memorial Award has helped about 20 students with “significant financial need” cover expenses in their senior year at Denison.

The award now totals more than $16,000 per year, and the memorial fund has grown large enough to support two seniors. This year’s recipients were Brian Stone, a financial economics major, and Moriah Aberle, a mathematics major.

The scholarships are given in a fall meeting arranged by Gillian Kennedy, Denison’s director of donor relations, with the students and their advisers. It’s a secret operation. The students aren’t told before the meeting what it’s about, so news of their well-earned good fortune comes as a surprise.

“It was set up under false pretenses,” said former recipient Maria Taylor ’19. “I thought it was about something else entirely. I was shocked and overwhelmed when I got the news.”

Several of the award recipients have gone on to graduate school in disciplines that include medicine, law, physics, and business — including Taylor, now a student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University.

“It’s made a significant difference in my life,” Taylor said. “It helped me make the decision to get into health care.”

These days, the surprise meetings with award recipients are recorded, and videos are sent to McNew. He’s thrilled to see them. He’s also heartened by the letters of thanks he’s received from award winners.

McNew is 90 and has lived in Irvine for 50 years. He’s one of the few remaining of the original nine fraternity brothers who chipped in for the award. His friend Jochens died in 2004.

After graduating from Denison, McNew, who grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, and later Detroit, served in the military before beginning a long career in sales for a couple of steel-making companies. He and his late wife, Louise, had three children.

McNew said he’s proud of what he’s been able to give back to Denison and “proud that I went there.” He hopes that people who are familiar with the Delta Upsilon award will be inspired to contribute or start something like it.

“Looking back on things,” he said, “I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world, mostly because I met and married Louise. But Denison was a great experience for me. It’s a super university.”

Published June 2023
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