Donald W. Porter ‘67, G’03

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Donald PorterDonald W. Porter ‘67, G’03, is a member of the Board of Visitors of Franklin & Marshall College, a past president of the Alumni Association Board, and a reunion class volunteer, but his student experience at F&M was far from typical.

In his early 20s, Porter was married with two sons and working in the research lab at Armstrong Cork Company (now Armstrong World Industries) in Lancaster, Pa., when he received some news from his boss.

“I needed a college degree if I ever wanted to be promoted,” he remembers. “And my wife said ‘we have to fix that!’ F&M was the best school in the area and, more importantly, was willing to give me the opportunity and help to make my education possible.”

Porter majored in business and, because he took the maximum class load and had earlier completed a few classes at another college, was able to complete his studies in three years. Three intense years.

“The business classes were very tough,” he says. “I remember the professors, especially Professor Everett. He would walk us through situations and then ask questions, and you had to be careful with your answers, because he would ask lots of follow-up questions and really work you hard through all the angles of a situation.”

The hard work paid off. After F&M, Porter began his new career with Connecticut General (which became Cigna); 35 years later he retired as Cigna’s vice president of operations/employee services. The following years brought many changes: several moves for the family, volunteer work for F&M, and the sad passing of his first wife, Eileen. Porter, now remarried, splits his time, together with his wife Marilyn, between Pennsylvania and Florida. He boasts three grandchildren (one of whom, Sarah Porter Barsky ’03, is an F&M alumna) and three great-grandchildren. But he’s never forgotten about those studious years at F&M.

“A few people helped us with scholarships,” he remembers. “We just couldn’t have paid for my education all by ourselves, with a family to support. My hope has always been to give back so that other young people would be able to benefit from the success that I’ve had because of F&M.”

Porter supports the Franklin & Marshall Fund, and he wishes more people would also remember to give to the College every year.

“I think too many alumni feel like their gift isn’t big enough, so they don’t make a gift at all,” he says, “but that’s not right. My gifts are small relative to the size of others, but the annual fund works because we all give what we can, and—together—it adds up to a lot of help for today’s young people.”
He also recently let the College know it would be receiving a small bequest from his estate. His bequest will support financial aid for future students who otherwise would not be able to attend F&M.

To learn how to craft your own legacy at F&M, please contact Mary Ann M. Cooke, J.D., ’90, director of gift planning, at mcooke@fandm.edu or 717-358-4821.