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Widener Receives $1 Million Gift in the Name of Former Professor

Family members give estate donation
Family of John Sevier gave a $1 million gift to the Oskin Leadership Institute.

Widener University is pleased to announce a major gift in the name of a former member of the university faculty.

The $1 million gift will fund the John Sevier Endowed Director of the Oskin Leadership Institute, a position currently held by Hal Shorey. Sevier was a long-time business professor at the university, who began his teaching when Widener was known as Pennsylvania Military College. He helped develop the university’s Master of Business Administration program and led the Management Department, where he was responsible for adding management ethics to the curriculum out of concern that students be prepared for pressures of the work world.

“This is a very generous and transformative gift,” said Widener President Julie E. Wollman. “It is fitting that a former professor who demonstrated such dedication to principles of leadership and ethics have his name attached to our Oskin Leadership Institute in this way. It is a fitting legacy.”

The gift came through the estate of Grace Sevier Lincoln, John Sevier’s widow, who died in October. John Sevier passed away in 1985 after 38 years of marriage. Grace Sevier Lincoln was a Widener alumna who earned three degrees in the evening division – culminating in her role as the first woman to earn a master’s degree in business administration. She worked 40 years for Atlantic Refinery/ARCO, advancing through the company from her starting position as a switchboard operator to eventually serve as the company’s affirmative action coordinator.

The couple, who lived in Springfield, Pennsylvania, generously supported Widener in multiple ways. They founded the Charles E. Sevier Memorial Collection at Wolfgram Library in memory of John’s brother who was killed in World War II. The couple also established the John and Charles Sevier Scholarship Fund, which has generously benefitted Widener business and nursing students who displayed academic excellence and financial need.

They funded a Widener pep band and cheerleading program until the university was able to bring those expenses into its budget, and they established a fund to give management students hands-on experience investing in the stock market. Then- Widener President Robert Bruce gave the eulogy at John Sevier’s funeral, calling him “an individual to emulate.”

“John was an integral part of Widener University, PMC, and the Chester communities” said Rod Stone, his godson and executor of his estate, who graduated from PMC in 1972. “He cared deeply about the people there.”

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