At her home in Grand Rapids, Margaret Lawrence Jack, ’41, pulls out a personal memoir she wrote for her family and turns to a photo taken of her and her father, Howard Lawrence, at her Albion graduation. Her father was president of the College’s Board of Trustees at the time.
“I have a very fond memory of graduation,” she recalls. “My dad was sitting on the platform with President Seaton. When it was time to get our diplomas, Dad stood up and handed my diploma to me. He was grinning, and I could tell he was proud of me.”
Margie’s graduation was the result of a connection with Albion that began in her childhood, and that connection has continued in the ensuing years through her financial support. Her father had joined the board in 1927, and conversation about Albion was a regular occurrence in the Lawrence household.
“Albion College was spoken about in my family from the time I was a young girl,” she says. “When I was thinking about colleges, I didn’t even consider another school. I always felt honored that my parents wanted me to go to Albion.”
While at Albion, Margie prepared for a career in teaching and became involved in a range of campus activities. Her leadership skills stood out, and as a senior she served as president of her sorority, Delta Gamma, and as vice president of Mortar Board, the national honorary society that had been established at Albion that year.
She says she always “felt at home” at Albion.
“It was more personal—they knew me there,” she reflects. “I wasn’t just a number in a class. Any of us who went to Albion felt more a part of a community than we would have at a bigger university.”
After graduating from Albion, Margie was married and raised her four children. She later taught for 20 years in East Grand Rapids elementary schools and along the way earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan.
Philanthropy, and particularly support for Albion, was part of her family tradition. For decades Margie has supported Albion’s annual fund through gifts that provide immediate scholarship support to students, an especially important need in these challenging economic times.
“My family was always interested in helping where they could,” she observes. “We knew education was a place where funds could be well used.”
Her parents established an endowed scholarship fund at the College, and in addition to her regular annual fund support Margie has created a second endowed scholarship in honor of her father and designated for students planning a career in elementary education. As a former educator, Margie has made giving to education a personal priority, believing that it is one of the most meaningful ways she can make an impact on society.
“I still have very warm feelings for the College,” she says, “and am happy to do what I can for Albion.”
The Lawrence family’s ties to Albion extend across several generations. Following Margaret to Albion were her brothers Paul, ’43, Gordon, ’52, and Walter, ’55, and her grandson, Sean Gill, ’92. Her father, Howard Lawrence, served on the Board of Trustees from 1927 to 1961 and was board president for over 20 years.