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Looking back makes Dondlinger look forward

It was the end of the fall semester of 1961 and Dennis Dondlinger was contemplating his future. 

Dennis had held a full-ride basketball scholarship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln at the beginning of the semester, but he was ruled medically ineligible to compete by team doctors because of a shoulder injury, putting his status in flux.  Dennis was driving home to Hebron when, by chance, he stopped for supper at Dorsey’s Cafe in Crete.

After he’d sat down to eat, a tap on his shoulder startled him.

From that very point forward, his life would be changed.

The man who tapped him on the shoulder was local businessman Ed Pallett, an ardent sports booster of Doane College.  Ed introduced Dennis to Al Papik, Doane’s athletic director, who soon offered him a scholarship to play basketball and run track for the Tigers. 

Dennis accepted, transferred and, thanks to Track and Field Coach Fred Beile’s gentle persuasion, also ended up running for the cross country team. In the classroom, he studied teacher education under Professor Lowell E. Dodd.

It was because of that pivotal moment in Dorsey’s Cafe that Dennis chose to give back to his alma mater – he recently purchased a two-life gift annuity with plans to purchase another annuity in January 2015.

“I wanted to endow a scholarship at Doane,” said Dennis, a 1966 graduate who now lives in Grand Island with his wife Juanita. “I was very thankful for the direction that Doane gave to my life and wanted to give back in a similar fashion to the help I was given.  People like Ed Pallet, Al Papik, Fred Beile and Lowell Dodd helped me on my way to a fruitful life.”

The corpus of Dennis and Juanita’s gift annuities will form the basis of the endowed scholarship posthumously.  In the meantime, the Dondlingers receive a quarterly tax-preferred income, as well as an income tax deduction.  Dennis learned of gift annuities after reading an article in Doane Magazine that featured the purchase of a gift annuity by Paul Oppenheim ’65, his former roommate.

“Someone was there for me when I received my scholarships,” Dennis said. “I believe my life is better because of the education I received at Doane College.”

To learn more about chartiable gift annuities or other planned giving options to Doane College, contact Director of Planned Giving Dan Meyer at dan.meyer@doane.edu or 402.826.8237.