“It doesn’t matter what they do next, but first they need to have the education,” said Cheryl Seibert, data information systems specialist in the Information and Technology Services Department at The University of Findlay and graduate of the Class of 2013. For her, creating a fund that will support students at the University for years to come honors a commitment to education she shares with her parents.
For Seibert as well as her father, Bob Staley, who took advantage of the GI Bill and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business from Miami University in 1950, it meant so much to earn a degree, to say, “I’m an Oiler,” said Seibert. “We offer such a diverse number of majors. The caring small nature and personal touch of our faculty and staff makes us stand out among other universities.” Along with her mother Wanda, her father encouraged her to “learn everything you can all the time. He made me very curious,” said Seibert.
After her father died last year, she created the Bob and Wanda Staley Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund in part from funds from his estate. “What better tribute than to have a scholarship in their name so that we can help other students to have that same thirst for knowledge and drive to learn everything there is to know,” said Seibert.
Wearing his UF gear proudly, Bob Staley often took the opportunity to interact with Findlay students, hiring them to work in the garden so they could earn extra money. “Dad was about the relationship,” said Seibert, “helping a student, knowing that student’s history and story. He always wanted to know how they were doing.”
When Seibert created the fund in their name, she wanted to honor both her parents’ memory and beliefs. “Dad took pride in being raised on his parents’ farm and remained active with the agricultural community throughout his life including the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was really passionate about farming families, especially on smaller farms, and he felt they needed a leg up to help them advance their careers. We wanted to make the scholarship at a level that would make an impact.” Keeping in mind the idea of building a relationship, Seibert created a scholarship that is renewable to a student from a rural background or farming family.
Though her mom died two years earlier, Seibert also wanted to honor her generosity of spirit and passion for learning. Left severely hearing impaired from scarlet fever as a child, she had the diligence and drive to build her own business as a hairdresser. “The diligence and work ethic that she passed on to me allowed me to succeed,” says Seibert. “This gift is a true testament to what they felt was important.”