Audrey Shafer: Creating a Lasting Legacy
Audrey Shafer '74, '76 often said that her husband, William C. Shafer, earned his college degree alongside her. While both valued lifelong learning and community service, it was Bill who encouraged Audrey to enroll in college despite being in her 40s at the time and despite the fact they both worked full time at General Motors in Sandusky.
Audrey attended BGSU Firelands as a nontraditional student before transferring to the BG campus to complete her bachelor's degree in general business and her master's degree in education. Audrey's husband not only drove her to and from Bowling Green, but often attended classes with her. Before he passed away in 1991, Bill expressed his wish to establish a scholarship at BGSU Firelands in appreciation of the opportunities the college provides nontraditional students.
Audrey honored that wish by including in her estate plans a gift to BGSU Firelands to establish the William C. Shafer Scholarship. It was while working with BGSU Firelands staff in 2010 to determine scholarship criteria that Audrey was inspired to begin funding the endowed scholarship during her lifetime. As a result, she had the pleasure of both knowing she was positively impacting BGSU Firelands students and meeting them at the annual scholarship breakfast.
"We are deeply grateful to Audrey not only for her generosity in providing scholarships, but for making her legacy gift known to us during her lifetime," said Stacey Hartley, BGSU Firelands staff member. "She provided us with the honor of knowing her and working with her to ensure her scholarship would be used exactly as she intended," added Hartley.
Audrey kept BGSU Firelands in her estate plans so the William C. Shafer Scholarship would grow substantially larger in order to broaden its impact. Sadly, Audrey passed away in October 2015, after which her estate provided the gifts just as Audrey planned. As a result, the William C. Shafer Scholarship has become the largest endowed scholarship in the history of BGSU Firelands.
"We miss Audrey terribly. She was a delightful and constant presence on our campus through her Elder College participation, further demonstrating her appreciation of lifelong learning. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to express our gratitude in person and her scholarship recipients were grateful to have met her. They have been inspired by her love of learning and passion for giving back," said Hartley.
Audrey and William Shafer's legacy will exist in perpetuity, benefitting generations of BGSU Firelands students.