Donna Lewis Tegtmeyer ’57
B.A., Denison University
Citation awarded June, 2007
Denison’s widely respected May term program is the virtual child of Donna Lewis Tegtmeyer, who engineered the 1989 transition from the required January-term program. She used multiple sources to find and encourage new sites, including former J-Term participants, Denison parents and alumni, personal vacations (yes, she signed up a fellow passenger on an airplane!), friends, business contacts, and other attendees at conferences. Her catalog grew each year, featuring selections that prompted impressive levels of student participation.
The May Term program (now the Denison Internship Program) has had a broad impact on Denison. The primary beneficiaries, of course, are the participating students and their faculty, who report a renewed interest in learning as students return from internships. The program raises the profile of Career Services, provides additional touchpoints for development efforts, is a featured part of Admissions materials, and helps reconnect alumni to the college. Finally, Denison’s national reputation benefits when an internship host is introduced to the college through the performance of an intern who is a credit to the university.
Two of our most high-profile alums with long histories of May Term involvement have high praise for the program and Donna’s role. Senator Richard Lugar ’54 has come to love the “…magical time in May when the students come to Washington and spend their time absorbing all we can give them.” And George Bodenheimer ’80 of ESPN/ABC, is convinced that the network of Denison alumni is our greatest asset and credits Donna’s top-notch selection process for having provided him with outstanding interns.
Donna’s enthusiasm has also benefited the communities where she lived. In Indianapolis, she helped establish a preschool coop that evolved into a full-time pre-kindergarten educational system. In Granville, she served on a Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the Granville Board of Education. Shortly, thereafter, she was elected to the first of four terms on the School Board. She received the Granville Rotary “Service Above Self” award in 1995. She, along with her late husband, John, was instrumental in securing local, then statewide support from Rotary for Operation Smile. An accomplished musician, Donna continues to be involved in many community activities as well as her 50th reunion committee.