Swartzbergs honor their fathers and support Boy Scouts through UT scholarship

December 11th, 2018 Posted in From Our Alumni

The Boy Scout Law notes, among other things, that Scouts are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and kind. For Barry Swartzberg (Bus ’71) and Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg (UTCTC ’83, Univ Coll ’85, A/S ’89, HS ’06), those characteristics indicate an individual especially deserving of a college scholarship.

With this in mind, the Swartzberg family established The Ted Swartzberg and Paul Bellner Scholarship Fund, to benefit underprivileged and deserving Boy Scouts attending The University of Toledo.

Barry Swartzberg (Bus ’71) and Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg (UTCTC ’83, Univ Coll ’85, A/S ’89, HS ’06)

The endowed scholarship, supported by current gifts as well as the couple’s estate plan, honors each of their fathers. Ted Swartzberg was an Eagle Scout and troop leader in the 1930s for Boy Scout Troop 37. Although Mrs. Swartzberg’s father, Paul Bellner, was not a Boy Scout, he involved his sons in scouting.

“Both our fathers recognized how the scouting experience results in young men developing lifelong friendships, helps to build character and encourages the Scouts to become involved in their community,” said Mr. Swartzberg.

The Swartzbergs’ choice for the scholarship to benefit students at The University of Toledo was an easy one, since both are UT alumni. Additionally, Mrs. Swartzberg worked almost her entire career—more than 40 years—at the former Medical College of Ohio (MCO) Hospital, now the UT Medical Center. Mr. Swartzberg also worked at MCO for a portion of his career, and it was where the couple first met. 

Discovering there was no current scholarship program set up for Boy Scouts in the Toledo area, the Swartzbergs talked about opportunities with UT and the Erie Shores Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “We determined a real need existed in the city in which we were both born, raised and spent most of our adult lives,” Mr. Swartzberg said.

The new fund will provide scholarships for Boy Scouts, particularly Eagle Scouts, in need of financial assistance to attend UT.

“Scouting builds character,” said Mr. Swartzberg. “The Scout Oath, among other things, indicates that a Scout has a duty to God and Country; helps other people at all times; and keeps himself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

Mr. Swartzberg noted that only four percent of Boy Scouts attain the rank of Eagle Scout. To achieve this rank, Scouts must demonstrate their understanding of leadership, service, character, personal fitness and outdoor skills at multiple levels. In addition to the 21 merit badges required to earn the Eagle Scout rank, each Scout must complete an extensive self-directed service project.

“A nationwide survey in 2012 demonstrated the significant, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society, from holding leadership positions in their workplace and neighborhood to volunteering to protect the environment and being prepared for emergencies,” said Mr. Swartzberg. “It is a proven fact that Scouting produces better citizens and builds character in young men.”

He noted that Eagle Scouts have gone on to become Olympians, surgeons, Pulitzer Prize winners, and successful business people. Examples include Gerald Ford, former U.S. President; James Lovell, astronaut and commander of Apollo 13; Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense; William Gates Sr., co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Steven Spielberg, movie producer; and Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

To enhance the scholarship opportunities for Scouts attending UT, the Swartzberg family has offered to match up to $25,000 in total gifts made to the fund through the 2019 calendar year.

For information about making a contribution, contact Brett Loney, UT associate vice president of development, at brett.loney@utoledo.edu or 419-530-2408.

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