Alumna leaves $1.7 million bequest to Nutritional Sciences

Undergraduate students enrolled in Food Services Systems Management NUSC 3271 during spring semester 2019 work with foods lab manager Michael Comperatore. Near the end of each semester students in the course prepare a series of create a series of three-course meals in the R.E. Jones Building's foods lab.
Undergraduate students enrolled in Food Services Systems Management NUSC 3271 during spring semester 2019 work with foods lab manager Michael Comperatore. Near the end of each semester students in the course prepare a series of create a series of three-course meals in the R.E. Jones Building’s foods lab.

In the midst of grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effects, Department of Nutritional Sciences has received a $1.7-million-dollar bequest from College alumna and long-time UConn supporter Margaret “Peggy” Ware. It is the largest gift to the department in its fifty-year history.

Says Amy Chesmer, senior director development for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, “A gift this size is transformational at any time, but given the financial hardship now facing so many students, the timing of this gift is wonderful.”

Scholarship support in the department has always been limited. As the department celebrates its fiftieth anniversarythis year, this gift provides one more reason to celebrate.

“Peggy Ware’s gift will be used to recruit a diverse population of undergraduate students of the highest academic capacity and to provide direct support for graduate students engaged in research and discovery,” says Professor Ji-Young Lee, department head.

Ware graduated summa cum laude in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree and went on to earn a master’s degree at Columbia. In 1980, the University of Connecticut School of Home Economics and Family Studies honored her with a Distinguished Alumni Award for her work in the area of consumer services.

Ware worked for a large public relations firm in New York City and served six years with the US Army Special Services in Japan, Germany and France before starting her own public relations and marketing firm, Peggy Ware Associates. During her career she worked for clients such as the Florida Citrus Growers, General Foods, Nabisco, Dell Publishing and McCormick & Co. She served on the city of Greenwich Representative Town Meeting and chaired the town’s Health and Environmental Committee. She was national chair of Home Economists in Business and national treasurer forAmerican Women in Radio and Television. Ware retired in Greensboro, North Carolina, but never lost her love and appreciation for UConn. In addition to her dedication to the College, she was a huge UConn basketball fan.

“While Peggy had a degree in family and consumer science, her passion for gardening and horticulture kept her connected to the College over the years,” says Chesmer. “She knew her bequest would have a significant impact and chose to fulfill the department’s greatest need. I only wish our students had the opportunity thank her in person.”

“I spoke with Peggy at many points over the years and had a chance to sit down with her in North Carolina,” says Greg Knott, senior director of gift planning at the UConn Foundation. “She was eighty-nine when we got together, but still very active as a volunteer in the Greensboro area and quite the social butterfly. She was a savvy donor who paid careful attention to the impact she could have.”

Knott continues, “When she supported the greenhouses at UConn, she made certain to identify specific research projects and tools, like new research benches she purchased, to maximize her impact. She was also very focused on tax-smart giving. She combined annuities—which offer deductions, income and an ability to delay capital gains—with giving from her IRA and gifts of appreciated stock so that she could give more to UConn. You could tell Peggy was a serious UConn fan because she always made sure to ask for two alumni calendars: one for the kitchen and one for the bedroom, so that she always had easy access and beautiful pictures of a place she loved.”

By Kim Colavito Markesich