Gift From Asbury Alum Permanently Funds Service Program

A major estate gift by alumna Wynelle Scott ’61 Deese will preserve the Asbury Initiative Program for future generations.
AU alumna Wynelle Scott '61 Deese (first row, right) recently signed an agreement to fully endow the Asbury Initiative Program.

WILMORE, Ky. — Talk to Asbury University graduate Wynelle Scott ’61 Deese for only a moment and you’ll find out that history is important to her. Keep the conversation going another minute, and you’ll find out she couldn’t be more committed to the future.

Evidence of this care for future generations was on display recently as Asbury announced the proceeds from Deese’s estate, upon her passing, will fully endow the Judge and Mrs. J.W. Deese Asbury Initiative Program.

The Asbury Initiative Program has been covering the costs for about 10 Asbury upperclassmen per year to perform summer volunteer service - for between five and eight weeks - in developing countries. The initial funds for the program — which started in 2004 and have covered more than 160 trips to nearly 60 different countries — are exhausted. The program awards approximately $80,000 annually and though Deese and others are currently contributing each year to keep the program going, Deese felt the calling to fund it permanently through her estate gift.

“I’ve wanted to make a difference, help Asbury and its students move forward, but I just wasn’t sure of the direction to go,” said Deese, who visited Asbury from her home in Florida to sign documentation and meet with administration and students. “I love the idea of not giving just generally, but to a specific thing that I know will have an impact. It’s what my husband and I have always wanted.”

Deese, a Psychology and Biology double major at Asbury, and her late husband also support Asbury students with the Judge J.W. and Wynelle Scott Deese Endowed Science Research Stipend.

A major estate gift by alumna Wynelle Scott ’61 Deese will preserve the Asbury Initiative Program for future generations.
Asbury senior Julia Chin took advantage of the Asbury Initiative Program to create media packages for two ministries in India.

“This is an exciting moment for Asbury and future generations of Asbury students who will be influenced by this generosity,” said Dr. Sandra C. Gray, president of Asbury University. “What a wonderful blessing from such a wonderful individual.”

In addition to her respected career as a psychologist, Deese — who earned a graduate degree from the University of Mississippi and was a long-time resident of Lexington, Ky. — is a prolific author having published a number of books on topics ranging from mental health to the history of Lexington and St. Petersburg, Fla. Books are just another way Deese will be influencing generations for years to come.

“There is no way for me to express how thankful I am, and my fellow students are, for this continuing gift,” said Asbury senior Morgan Newton, an Initiative Program student in 2015 who spent two months in Costa Rica working with survivors of human trafficking there. “It was one of the most transformative experiences in my life… To know opportunities to serve like this will be available to future Asbury students is amazing.”

With her appreciation for the past, but clear vision and commitment to the future, Deese and Asbury seem perfectly aligned. “Asbury is the place that I’ve always kept in contact with, no matter where I am,” said Deese. “Easy to say… I’m attached to Asbury.”

“Mrs. Deese has demonstrated for many that estate plans are wonderful ways to participate in philanthropy,” said Charlie Shepard, Asbury’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “By making this decision now and making it known to the University, Mrs. Deese has the opportunity to see the impact her generosity will have on future generations of Asburians… and we get the opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude.”

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