“I walk this path nearly every day and I think of him nearly every time” said President Mark McCoy to alumni and students while commemorating Jim G. Stewart ‘64 at the Stewart Plaza Dedication on Oct. 5.
Stewart was an active member of the DePauw University community during his time on campus as an undergraduate and many years following. After graduating from DePauw with a mathematics degree, he earned his masters at the University of Michigan. He then joined Cigna, an American worldwide health services organization based in Connecticut, became Cigna’s CFO, and served in the Army Reserves.
As an alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees, his dedication to his alma mater was obvious. In 2015, Stewart donated $5 million dollars to The Campaign for DePauw, which was used to build what Dave Hoover ‘67 called the “finishing jewel” of DePauw’s center space.
Hoover, the namesake of Hoover Hall, honored his friend at the dedication. He noted how Stewart Plaza “perfectly completes this center of campus.” He believes the space is exactly what Stewart had in mind and fondly recalled how during the planning process Stewart mentioned, “If you want this to be the Stewart Plaza, it’s gotta have fountains.”
Stewart’s wife, Andrea, spoke on behalf of her husband who passed on March 5 of 2016. She emphasized Stewart’s incredible passion to give back to DePauw. The relationships Stewart fostered while at DePauw inspired his resolve to give back to the University.
The dedication was an important part of The Campaign for DePauw which is focused on strengthening DePauw academic life and recognizing graduates’ achievements. Melanie Norton, vice president for development and alumni engagement, spearheads The Campaign. Norton said, “Our Board of Trustees have been remarkable in terms of their support of this campaign and Jim G. was a big part of it as well.”
Senior Ben Kusber, a presidential ambassador, serves as a connection between the Board of Trustees, alumni and students. He mentioned alumni such as Stewart “are the reason DePauw looks the way it does now.”
“We are deeply, deeply, grateful for the many ways in which James G. Stewart touched campus and all of our lives,” said President McCoy. Stewart’s family and friends know his legacy at DePauw will live on not only through his memorial, but also through every person who walks through the plaza.