Reflections Magazine Issue #54 - Fall 2000 - Page 30

30 Alumna provides SHU’s largest bequest music teacher who lived quietly and supported her alma mater modestly during her lifetime has made the largest bequest ever received by Siena Heights University. Barbara Wojtyszewski ‘47 majored in music at Siena Heights and was “a wonderful pianist” who spent hours practicing in Walsh Hall (now Sage Union). “She was the star performer of many Siena Heights concerts,” according to Rosemarie Van d’Elden Birman ’47, Barbara’s college roommate and a lifetime friend. Born in Hamtramck, Barbara returned to the Detroit area to teach music, eventually settling in New Baltimore. Through the years, she contributed to her alma mater with gifts of $25, $50 or $100. Last November 17, six days before her 74th birthday, Barbara Wojtyszewski died after a battle with cancer. In her will, she named Siena Heights the primary beneficiary of her retirement plan. Several months later, University officials were stunned to learn the value of the gift: $777,678. Barbara’s contribution is the largest bequest in Siena Heights history. “Philanthropy of this magnitude is overwhelming,” University President Rick Artman said. “We are grateful beyond words. And we are equally saddened that we had no oppo