Commitment to Education Prompts Gift from George H. Langeler ’49

Photo of George H. Langeler '49When contemplating college, George H. Langeler ’49 thought about studying agriculture at Iowa State University. But instead he chose to stay close to home and attended Elmhurst College where he discovered his passions for biology and teaching. He also began a lifelong connection with the school that would lead him to many meaningful roles, including joining the faculty in 1950 and, in 1974, the board of trustees.

“Liberal arts education is important to our society, and Elmhurst College is a special liberal arts place,” said the resident of Oberlin, Ohio. “It’s critical that a society like ours has broadly educated people. A liberal arts education does this.”

As a student, he participated in theater, was a member of the honorary fraternities Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Delta Kappa, and was class president. “Thanks to the caring faculty and administration at Elmhurst, I grew as a person,” he said.

After receiving his master’s from the University of Illinois, Langeler taught biology at Elmhurst for five years. He was faculty head resident of Irion Hall, the only all-male dorm on campus at the time. “That combination of caring and competence is important to me, and I valued the student/faculty interaction from both sides.”

Langeler received his PhD at the University of Michigan and in 1959 joined the faculty at Oberlin College, eventually rising to dean of students. Devoting his life to education seems to have come naturally to him. Continuing to enhance the educational opportunities in his home state, he helped found Lorain County Community College.

An avid traveler, he was a trustee of Oberlin’s exchange program and has traveled to the countries involved in that program, including China, India, Japan, and Indonesia. After retiring he taught spoken English in China’s Yunnan Province for two years. “I had the joy of teaching Chinese people from all walks of life,” said Langeler, who returns to China every winter. “If I could, I would require students to travel internationally. You see how other cultures bring joy to people, and it’s a humbling experience to see the strengths and weaknesses of our culture.”

In gratitude for the many rich experiences made possible by his Elmhurst education, Langeler has established a charitable remainder trust to support scholarships. He receives income from the trust for life, and when he is gone the remaining assets will help Elmhurst students pay for college.

“Others helped me pay for college,” he said. “We all have an obligation to give back. Having seen education all over the world, I know the value of my years at Elmhurst—and want to help others benefit from the same experience.”

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