June 21, 2011
Miami University alumni Bill '72 and Paula Boron Lohnes '70 have recently committed to a $250,000 planned gift in support of the Albina Holly Boron Scholarship within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The scholarship was previously created by the Atlanta couple to honor Paula's mother and support female student-athletes with partial or no scholarships.
"Being student-athletes and being around Miami Athletics was a big part of our lives that we've taken with us," Bill said. "We intentionally created this as a scholarship for student-athletes like we were - the types who work hard and sacrifice but never get to wear a clean uniform."
Bill, the co-founder of Wise Path, LLC, a wealth management group, was a walk-on baseball player at Miami. He played on the freshman team and caught batting practice for three years but never dressed for a varsity game. Paula played women's basketball in Miami's pre-Title IX days, until a sophomore-year injury ended her career.
"There were no scholarships, and our coaches were all women faculty members from the physical education department who I'm not sure were even paid to coach," Paula recalls. "That didn't prevent them from wanting to coach or us from wanting to play. We just loved it, and, we wanted a higher level of competition."
The Lohneses, who lived in Oxford, Richmond, Ind., and Cincinnati for 20 years after their graduation, have an extensive history of involvement as supporters of Miami Athletics. Bill worked as an undergraduate and graduate intramural assistant to former men's golf coach Rodger Cromer, where he "grew up" among the Miami coaches of that era. Paula is a former president of the Red & White Club - the primary fund-raising organization supporting annual scholarship needs for Miami student-athletes.
They also have been avid financial supporters, contributing and pledging more than $475,000 to Miami Athletics, including the naming gift for the indoor baseball hitting facility at Hayden Park.
"Bill and Paula Lohnes personify the sense of family that is at the heart of Miami Athletics," said Miami Director of Athletics Brad Bates. "Their pride in Miami's student-athletes and their commitment to sharing this transformative experience with future generations are as inspiring as they are crucial to the continued success of Miami's athletic programs."
For Paula, that pride and the responsibility she feels for the "phenomenal athletes" who represent Miami today runs as deep as when she piled into vans for road games with her teammates as a college freshman.
"I'm proud to say I represented Miami University as a student-athlete," she said. "I didn't have the opportunity to receive a scholarship, but I'm so happy that we can provide one."
Miami's Office of Gift Planning, within the Division of University Advancement, offers guidance into a variety of strategies that combine future support of Miami, including bequests, with sound financial planning. To learn more, visit www.ForLoveandHonor.org/GiftPlanning.