When Union received a surprise bequest of $1.4 million from the trust estate of Homer Gebhardt of Huntington, West Virginia, the seminary had to do some digging to get to know its mysterious benefactor. His estate acknowledged his lifelong commitment to Christian education and his desire that the income from the trust be used to “strengthen the teaching staff.” So the bequest was used to establish a Christian Education Chair.
Who was the generous Homer Gebhardt, and what sparked his commitment to Christian Education? With a bit of research, we discovered that this extremely private person had been president of First Huntington Bank. He studied scripture and spent lots of time preparing lessons for the high school Sunday-school class at Huntington’s First Presbyterian Church. The artistic Gebhardt taught himself to play cello and to paint. His portrait of his mother hangs in the Huntington Art Museum. A national church-wide appeal challenging Presbyterians to support theological education may have influenced Mr. Gebhardt’s generosity to the seminary.
If you’re considering a bequest, don’t be a mystery donor! We can keep your gift confidential while thanking you for your generosity.