New Wiggins Fund for Notre Dame tuition assistance


Staff report



SCIOTO — The Scioto Foundation has announced the creation of the Wiggins Notre Dame Tuition Assistance Fund established by Jerry and Mary Lou Wiggins for the assistance of both elementary and high school students in the Notre Dame School System.

In addition to attending the Notre Dame Schools, to qualify for the tuition assistance students must show financial need. A selection committee from Notre Dame Schools will make annual selections for the scholarships.

The Wiggins, who now live in Sarasota, Florida, grew up in Portsmouth, attended Notre Dame elementary schools and were classmates at Notre Dame High School before they graduated from there in 1958. Jerry attended Holy Redeemer Elementary School and Mary Lou went to St. Mary’s Elementary School before the two schools merged.

After high school graduation, Jerry attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated from there in 1962. He did graduate work in accounting at The Ohio State University and earned a CPA certificate. Mary started in nursing school but had to come home to take care of her mother who had had a stroke. The couple was married in 1963.

Jerry was employed in public accounting with Ernst & Ernst Accounting Firm after earning his CPA and later went on to work in industrial accounting. The Wiggins moved to Reading, Pennsylvania where he was employed by the VF Apparel Company for thirteen years, becoming vice president. Then they relocated to Dyersburg, Tennessee, a community just north of Memphis where Jerry was named Vice President of Finance and next, Chief Operating Officer for Dyersburg Fabrics, a textile company.

The Wiggins are the parents of four children, three girls and a boy, and have ten grandchildren. After Jerry retired in 1999, they moved to Sarasota, Florida and built a house there.

According to Jerry, the idea to establish a fund for the Notre Dame Schools occurred when the couple came back to Portsmouth for their 50th high school reunion. Impressed by the valedictorian who went to Harvard from Notre Dame, the Wiggins decided it was time to do something for the schools. While they were in town they talked to the school administrators and to Patty Tennant who was then ND Development Director about setting up a fund.

Now the Wiggins hope to grow the new endowment fund established at the Scioto Foundation so that it will help increasing numbers of students with tuition assistance in future years. They have also benefitted several other Catholic institutions.

Jerry explained that his family has long been rooted in the Notre Dame School System. He remembers that his father, serving as a representative of the Holy Redeemer Schools, was co-chairman of fundraising when the new Notre Dame High School was built and received naming rights for it. Now the Wiggins are building the Notre Dame Schools for future generations in another way.

Contributions to the Wiggins Notre Dame Tuition Assistance Fund may be made by family, friends, school alumni or the general public at any time. Donations may be in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property.

Additional information about the Wiggins Fund or other planned giving opportunities at the Scioto Foundation may be obtained by contacting Patty Tennant, Program Office – Donor Services, or SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip at (740) 354-4612.

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Staff report