EMU Gives Gehman Philanthropy Award

President Loren Swartzendruber presents Margaret Martin Gehman with a plaque
EMU President Loren Swartzendruber presents Margaret Martin Gehman with a plaque naming her first recipient of the annual "Philanthropist of the Year" award from the university. At right are Susan Godshall, EMU board chair, and Kirk Shisler, vice-president for advancemnt.
Photo by Jim Bishop

Margaret Martin Gehman may be retired from her long tenure on the Eastern Mennonite University faculty, but at age 83, she still exemplifies the moniker bestowed on her years ago – "Speedy."

Dr. Gehman’s continued work and support of the university was recognized at a donor appreciation banquet Friday, Oct. 14, with her being named the first recipient of the "Philanthropist of the Year" award.

EMU President Loren E. Swartzendruber presented Gehman with the award, citing her "long-time faithful, generous financial and other contributions to the university over the years."

"Margaret has supported the University Fund, many capital campaign projects and by establishing several gift annuities, supporting endowed scholarships, program endowments for indoor and outdoor athletics and the humanities and building endowments for Northlawn residence hall and Eastern Mennonite Seminary," Dr. Swartzendruber said.

The EMU professor emerita joined the faculty in 1944 and taught art and physical education courses until her retirement in 1987. She continues to serve regularly as a volunteer on campus, assisting with special mailings and preparation for special events. She also volunteers at Eastern Mennonite Mennonite High School, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Mennonite Media Ministries and other local organizations.

While Gehman is the first recipient of the philanthropic award, she won’t be the last.

Swartzendruber announced that EMU "will select one donor or donor couple each year from now on to receive what will be known as the ‘Margaret M. Gehman Philanthropist of the Year Award.’"

Gehman credits her late parents, J.D. Earl and Edna Martin from the Hagerstown, Md., area, for "teaching the value of a lifestyle of simplicity and generosity."

Gehman still drives the same blue 1967 Volkswagen Beatle. Her late husband, Dr. Ernest G. Gehman, taught German at EMU for 47 years.