A 1958 graduate of Holyoke Community College (HCC) has pledged to donate over $10 million to the school for student scholarships and the college’s greatest needs.
HCC alum Margaret (Peg) Wendlandt and her husband, Gary Wendlandt have included the school in their estate plan. According to a news release from HCC, the bequest is the largest single gift commitment in the college’s 77-year history and one of the largest gifts ever to any community college.
The Wendlandt’s have been long-time supporters of HCC, including donations to the President’s Student Emergency Fund and two endowed scholarships administered by the HCC Foundation: the Peg and Gary Wendlandt Scholarship (for students with financial need) and the Peg ’58 and Gary Wendlandt Health Scholarship (for students in nursing or health-related fields).
They have also contributed matching gift donations of $100,000 during the HCC Foundation’s one-day “Together HCC: Drive to Change Lives” fundraising campaign and have again pledged to match up to $100,000 in gifts from new donors and alumni for this year’s campaign on Tuesday, April 25.
Peg (Laframboise) Wendlandt graduated from Cathedral High School in Springfield and began her college career at HCC when it was still called Holyoke Junior College. After graduating, she went on to the University of Massachusetts and later to the Western New England School of Law. Her career included work as a family law attorney, substitute teacher in Holyoke Public Schools and an actuarial assistant at MassMutual. As the first HCC alumna to earn a law degree, she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from HCC in 2007. In 2014, she received a Distinguished Service Award at Commencement. Her husband Gary is a graduate of Washington University and a retired insurance executive. They live in New York City.
“Education has made a great deal of difference in our lives and how we have succeeded over the years,” Peg Wendlandt said a few years ago. “Gary and I both received scholarships to assist us in achieving our goals of education and feel fortunate that we can help others do the same.”
“Peg and Gary are our greatest champions for giving days and regularly offer challenges to inspire others to give,” said Amanda Sbriscia, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation. “In this way, they are truly extraordinary donors – thinking about the needs students face today while also creating the conditions for future students to succeed.”
HCC has been the beneficiary other generous contributions from alumnus including two $1 million donations, one from HCC alum and Yankee Candle Company founder Michael Kittredge in 2003 and another from the estate of HCC alum, professor emeritus and textbook author Elaine Marieb, as well as a $7.5 million donation in 2020 from the Marieb Foundation, which was then the single largest donation ever to a community college in Massachusetts.