Meet Elizabeth Dale ’04

Like many other prospective students, choosing a university was a difficult decision for Elizabeth Dale ’04, Ph.D. And like many other students, Elizabeth came to OWU in part because of the generosity of alumni and donors through endowments and scholarships.

“Receiving a full scholarship made it an excellent financial decision, and I knew I could get involved in sports and extracurricular activities right away in addition to being in an Honors Program. Plus as an LGBTQ student, I felt like the campus was a welcoming place, even back in 2000. It probably took me an entire semester to feel confident in my decision, but looking back, it was the right decision for me,” she said.

Elizabeth was active in campus life as a student, participating in organizations on campus including Pride, College Democrats, the Track and Field team, the House of Spirituality Small Living Unit (SLU), and four years working on the Transcript, including as Editor-in-Chief her sophomore year. She also participated on the Bridge Team that went on to compete at the national level. 

The academic relationships she nurtured were even more powerful. “There are so many faculty members who made my experience great—from Dr. Trace Regan and Professor Jim Underwood in the journalism department, to Dr. Connie Richards in Women’s and Gender Studies, and my adviser, Dr. Richard Fusch. I always felt supported in pursuing my academic interests and challenged.”

Elizabeth continues to reflect on how her undergraduate experiences and relationships have shaped who she is and her path in life, including her current role as an Associate Professor in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University. “OWU clearly cultivated my identity as a scholar and a writer—something that a university faculty does all the time. However, my journalism degree also emphasized clear communication and a practicality that I want my research to have.”

As a professor, Elizabeth researches giving motivations and behavior, building upon her experiences and educational background to cultivate others’ minds. “Of course as a professor, I’m also a teacher, and OWU was full of rich learning spaces, and that’s something I’m always trying to build, whether in the classroom, working with donors or fundraisers, or advising students.”

For Elizabeth, her life is not just about giving but giving back. As an investor in the future of OWU and its students, Elizabeth is giving back to OWU through estate planning, deciding to include a bequest in her first will. “I see my estate gift as a sign of my gratitude for a tremendously subsidized education and a way to pay that forward for future students. I continue to support scholarship programs with my annual giving and really want to support students who are interested in research experiences as part of their undergraduate education.”

Through her experiences as an expert in the field of philanthropy, Elizabeth offers the following pieces of advice: “I always tell people to approach their giving by starting with their values. If education is important to you, if the sense of campus community and support is important to you, find a way to give back.  Financial support is only one way to do that. I’ve also been on the parent-alumni recruitment team and worked to organize my class’s reunion gift, so volunteering is another way. And even talking about OWU and encouraging future students to check out the campus and apply is important too. It’s important to think about all the different resources we have and how we can share our time, talents, treasure, and testimony with others.”

In the same way she felt welcomed at OWU, Elizabeth is creating access for future students so they can feel at home, too.