IUP Home | A–Z Index | Apply Now | Support IUP | News and Events | Find People |

Setting Dreams in Motion

To illustrate how important money can be to a college education, Bill Madia ’69, M’71 shares a story about working as a dishwasher the summer before entering college. Accepted at both Penn State and IUP, he didn’t earn enough that summer to attend Penn State, so in the fall, he headed to IUP.

Bill Madia and Audrey DeLaquil Madia

That choice worked out for him. He soon met Audrey DeLaquil, who became his wife after her IUP graduation in 1970. Both went on to successful careers, Audrey as an interior designer, and Bill as an executive at global science company Battelle and a director of two national laboratories.

But the Pittsburgh-area natives—Bill from Swissvale and Audrey from McKees Rocks—remember well the struggles they faced paying for college. Common to students from working-class families, those struggles were their primary motivation for starting a science scholarship at IUP more than a decade ago and for their most recent gift—$1 million for science and math initiatives. 

“Money was always a determining factor for me,” Bill said. “Throughout the school year, I always had to work second and third jobs to scrape together money to stay in school, and that takes away from your education. In retrospect, you realize time spent working in the cafeteria or in the stock room of Weyandt Hall was time you could have been studying.”

They hope their gift will bring a good education within reach for students with financial needs.

“Your education sets in motion many of the things you can do and accomplish in life,” said Bill, who retired from Battelle in 2007 and is now in the president’s office at Stanford University. “Helping others get their education will enable them to do what we’re able to do.”

Audrey emphasized that IUP gave them more than a good education—it also provided a nurturing environment.

“It was very comfortable. The people were almost like family,” she said, referring to friends they made on campus, including in her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and Bill’s fraternity, Sigma Tau Gamma. “That was important. It was part of growing up and facing the real world but still having somebody’s hand to hold. So, IUP influenced all parts of our lives, not just our education.”

Grateful for that experience, the Madias have made it a priority to stay involved with the university. Now living in Montara, California, they make many trips back to campus—to speak to students, for Bill to participate in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Advisory Board, and for both to accept the Volunteer of the Year award in 2012.

That service award followed years of hosting gatherings at their home, situated on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, and at various venues for IUP alumni living in the San Francisco Bay area. Their motivation was simply to encourage others to stay engaged with the school, as they have.

“We met at the university, we got a good education at the university, we have a great relationship with the university,” Bill said. “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ We try to live up to that standard.”

To initiate a conversation about ways to give, send e-mail to iup-giving@iup.edu or call 855-477-5266.