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Juniata Honors Westminster Woods Resident with Honorary Degree

(Posted May 16, 2011)

Beulah Baugher, former director of housekeeping at Juniata

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Beulah Baugher, former director of housekeeping at Juniata College, received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Juniata College, presented by Juniata President Thomas R. Kepple, at a special dinner Saturday, April 30 in the Sill Board Room in Ellis Hall on the Juniata campus.

Surrounded by her children and grandchildren, Baugher, age 98, stood to read from a statement she had prepared in advance. "I believe in higher education and hope that any contribution I make to Juniata College will help students who need help achieve their goal," she said. "My one regret in life was not having a college education; now you, Dr. Kepple, have eliminated that regret by giving me an honorary degree."

"Beulah Baugher has been associated with Juniata since 1959 and her faith in our mission of educating students from all walks of life is an example for us all," said Kepple. "Her astute investment in a gift annuity to honor her stepson has grown into a gift that makes her one of Juniata's most generous benefactors."

Another Huntingdon resident, David Goodman, CEO of D.C. Goodman and Sons, also received an honorary degree at the college's 133rd Commencement May 14. The commencement address was given by Maryanne Wolf, professor of child development and director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, in Medford, Mass.

Baugher currently is a resident of Westminster Woods retirement community. Widowed in 1954 after her husband, Jesse C. Replogle passed away, she came to Juniata as director of housekeeping in 1959. At a Juniata event she met Chalender Lesher, a local banker and the widower of Maude Lesher (the namesake of Lesher Hall, a Juniata residence hall). The two were married, and in 1964 the couple honored Chalender Lesher's son (also named Chalender), who had been shot down and killed near Amsterdam in 1943 during World War II, by purchasing a $24,000 gift annuity.

"Beulah Baugher has been associated with Juniata since 1959 and her faith in our mission of educating students from all walks of life is an example for us all. Her astute investment in a gift annuity to honor her stepson has grown into a gift that makes her one of Juniata's most generous benefactors."
Tom Kepple, president of Juniata

The gift, intended to fund a scholarship in the downed airman's name, appreciated over the years. Although Chalender Lesher died in 1967, Beulah Baugher remarried, to Raymond Baugher. Twice widowed, she remains connected to Juniata, attending cultural events and meeting with Juniata administrators over the years.

By 2010, Baugher's gift annuity had grown into a $1.9 million investment, making her one of the largest individual benefactors in the college's history. The gift will be used to fund scholarships in Chalender Lesher's name.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.