"Paying It Forward"

Paying It Forward

When George Dupont ’70 signed a seven-figure estate intention last year that will support student scholarships, he looked at it simply as paying back a debt he owed.

“Neither of my parents graduated from high school,” he says. “My dad taught me the value of work. My mom taught me the value of an education. My high school football coach taught me the value of teamwork. And at Ursinus College, I received a well-rounded education that equipped me with the tools that I needed, used and continued to develop throughout my entire career.”

Dupont says he owes his successful career to the education he received at Ursinus. With it, he rose from a service technician to executive positions at American Motors/Jeep Corporation and Land Rover North America. He stayed on with Ford Motor Company for three years after they bought Land Rover and then retired in 2005.

But it was Ursinus, he says, that gave him the opportunity to attend college and study under professors who were accomplished experts in the subjects they taught, as well as dedicated to their students.

The only problem is, he doesn’t know who to thank. Fifty years later it remains a mystery. At the end of February 1966, in his senior year at Souderton Area High School, Dupont was told that Ursinus Coach Dick Whatley wanted him to come over to the college to talk about playing football there. Because of that invitation, he applied and earned an academic scholarship. But to this day, Dupont has been unable to discover who opened that door for him to attend Ursinus. He has his suspicions: maybe his high school football coach, or a high school social studies teacher who had graduated from Ursinus, or a student he had played football with in high school who graduated a year ahead of Dupont and went to Ursinus.

Nevertheless, as the first member of his family to go to college, Dupont understands how that opportunity can transform a young person’s life—especially for those who could not otherwise afford a college education. His generous gift to Ursinus College’s Keep the Promise campaign will ensure that future students will have the same life-changing opportunity he did.

“This is the payback. I owe someone for introducing me to Ursinus,” Dupont says. “I owe some professors for making sure that I got out the front door, not the back door. I just want to help some other kids who would never consider Ursinus, or couldn’t afford to go to school there. I want to do something that will make a difference in someone else’s life.”