July 3, 2008
MUW receives largest single gift ever at $3.26
COLUMBUS, Miss. – A $3.26 million estate
recently left to Mississippi University for Women
will go toward scholarships for students. The gift
is the largest single gift ever made to MUW through
the MUW Foundation and will provide more than
$150,000 per year in perpetuity in scholarships.
The Harriett Piper Brenneman Scholarship Fund was
established by John Brenneman through his will in
honor of his wife, Harriett, who received her master
of education from Mississippi State College for
Women in 1971 and her bachelor’s degree from
Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.
She was from Newville, Pa., and died Aug. 19, 1982.
Dr. Claudia A. Limbert, MUW president, said, “We are
so thankful for Mr. Brenneman’s generosity to MUW.
The Harriett Piper Brenneman Scholarship Fund will
be used to further our academic quality by helping
students just like Mrs. Brenneman achieve the dream
of a college education.”
John Brenneman, who was a retired Air Force staff
sergeant, died Jan. 10, 2007. He was a U.S. Army
veteran of WWII and a U.S. Air Force veteran of the
Korean conflict and the Vietnam era. He was the
holder of many honors and awards for his many years
of service to his country.
“He was alone for quite a few years,” said Jane
Burke, who is with M & T Investment Group in
Carlisle, Pa. “When he retired, they were totally
devoted to each other. There was no family. I really
think he kept thinking about her.”
Burke said she also found it interesting that “They
were both pilots in that day and age.”
Dr. Gary Bouse, MUW vice president for institutional
advancement, said, “What makes this gift so special
is not only the amount, but the spirit in which it
was given. How wonderful it was for Mr. Brenneman to
have had the opportunity to honor his wife through
this remarkable gift. Although the Brenneman’s are
no longer with us, their influence will be felt for
generations to come.”
Richard Tritt, who works as a photo curator with the
Cumberland County Historical Society in Carlisle,
recalls both John and Harriett being only children.
“I knew her parents—Donald and Irene Piper. They
were Presbyterians and lived in Newville. I grew up
in the same church as her (Harriet Piper),” he said.
“The Pipers were well respected people. I think her
father was in the insurance business, and her mother
was a substitute organist in the church.”
Tritt said items from the estate, including her
diploma, other manuscript items and some 200 photos
are part of their archival collection. The
historical society has the fourth largest manuscript
collection in Pennsylvania with about 20 staff
members and half a million photos. Harriet
Brenneman’s diploma and seven original photos will
be given to MUW.
Dr. R. Edward Betcher, chairman of the MUW
Foundation Board of Directors, said, “In the current
environment of limited funding, institutions like
MUW rely heavily on benefactors such as the
Brennemans. This gift will allow the MUW Foundation
to provide scholarships in the coming years.”