True blue

Lynn’s loyal supporters share their passions and advice for other donors

Patricia (Pat) Toppel outside the Snyder Sanctuary
Patricia (Pat) Toppel

The institution may be the same, but the culture is continually developing, expanding and even disrupting traditional models of higher education. As Lynn continues to grow for the future, we took a moment to catch up with three of Lynn University’s longtime donors who’ve helped usher the university along its journey, time and again. We wanted to know how they used their time, talent and treasure to do great work on behalf of our students and why they just can’t get enough of our university.

Patricia (Pat) Toppel

Supporter of: Gingerbread Holiday Concert, Conservatory of Music, Christine E. Lynn University Center, A Tribute to Jan McArt Scholarship, and Harold and Patricia Toppel Endowed Scholarship

How did you become involved? I’ve been a fan of Lynn University for a long time. I first fell in love with the university when it had the opportunity to acquire the Harid Conservatory of Music in 1999. Now it’s become the wonderful Conservatory of Music, which brings such talent, joy and professionalism to the community.

What’s your philanthropy philosophy? I believe strongly in good leadership. I love watching a place like Lynn grow to become such an asset to the community. I want to see that continue for years to come.

Time, talent or treasure? All three. And underlying that is the desire to succeed. It takes persistence, the will to do the work and people who are willing to give.

What’s your passion project? I became involved through the purchase of Harid. Since then, I’ve loved seeing the conservatory students learning. They work so hard, and they’re so happy. It’s inspiring.

Best advice for a first-time donor? Find what inspires you. You have to have the passion to see students develop and become successful. Follow that passion.

Mary Anna Fowler

Mary Anna Fowler with a photo her husband

Supporter of: Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center, Gingerbread Holiday Concert, Christine E. Lynn University Center, Remembrance Plaza, Royal Palm Outreach Concert and the Theatre Arts Program

How did you become involved? My husband was a long-time trustee, and I used to support him and the university in all their endeavors. We were chairmen of the ball, too, and I can remember addressing envelopes to help with university outreach.

What’s your philanthropy philosophy? Support your friends in their visions and dreams, and give where your heart leads you.

Time, talent or treasure? A handful of successful business men and women have helped make Boca Raton what it is today. But many others give in other ways, and that’s very important, too. You have to give what you can.

What’s your passion project? I’ve seen the university grow tremendously, and my support has grown with it. My granddaughter earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Lynn, and the one-on-one support she received was critical for helping her succeed. I support Lynn’s academics through scholarships, and of course, I hold season tickets for Jan McArt’s wonderful work.

Best advice for a first-time donor? If something grabs your attention, find out the stories behind it. Follow your heart, and always do what you can do.

Etoile Volin

Etoile Voilin in the Wold Performing Arts Center

Supporter of: Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center, Gingerbread Holiday Concert, Conservatory of Music, Theatre Arts Program and immediate needs

How did you become involved? My late husband and I first became involved in 1979, when friends introduced us to Lynn. Those friends, including the Rosses and the Lynns, became family, and our involvement continued to grow as the university did.

What’s your philanthropy philosophy? I’ve always have been fond of art, education and anything that supports the community. I enjoy supporting places, like schools and hospitals, that have wonderful, committed employees doing what they love—what they’ve been put on earth to do.

Time, talent or treasure? I believe you should give whatever you can. For example, I really enjoyed helping plan Lynn’s fashion show several years ago. But, I also love traveling and don’t always have the time to give, so I give in other ways.

What’s your passion project? The theater. Boca Raton has grown a lot, and it needed a place like the Wold to help keep people in this area. It also helps the university keep its arms open to the community.

Best advice for a first-time donor? Come to the theater. Discover Lynn University and all the talent and opportunity happening in your own backyard. You will be amazed.

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