Lehman makes endowed gift to wrestling team, largest in history of F&M athletics

By Layth Ismail, Contributing Writer ||

With Reporting By Steven Viera, News Editor ||

David Lehman ’68, a member of F&M’s Board of Trustees, recently gave a $5 million endowed gift to benefit the College’s wrestling team. The donation will enable the team — which plays in the NCAA’s Division I — to finance equipment, personnel, travel to and participate in competitions, and recruit students.

A former F&M wrestler himself, Lehman, president and CEO of DJ Resources based in Denver, wanted to find a way to give back to two of the organizations he credits with much of his life’s success: the College and the wrestling team.

“The announcement of Dave Lehman’s gift was a great thrill — both for the magnitude of the donation and for the graciousness of the benefactor,” said Patricia Epps, director of Athletics. “Mr. Lehman attributes his many accomplishments to his F&M experiences as both a scholar and an
athlete.”

Lehman’s endowed gift — the largest ever in the history of F&M athletics — will provide support to the wrestling program so that the team can continue its operations by purchasing new equipment, hiring personnel, recruiting new students, etc., so that the team can continue to raise its profile within the national intercollegiate wrestling community. Furthermore, in recognition of the gift, the College plans to rename its annual wrestling open tournament to the David H. Lehman F&M Open.

“I was in shock and overjoyed by the news,” said Mike Rogers, W. Roy Phillips ’34 wrestling coach. “This incredibly generous gift solidifies our program’s future for generations to come.

Aside from the gift, Rogers expressed confidence in F&M’s wrestlers moving forward.

“I feel we will have a more balanced team that we have ever had before,” Rogers said. “We now have competition at each and every weight class; this depth allows us to put out our best team for every meet. As a team, I think we’re always in great condition.

Daniel Porterfield, president of the College, announced news of the gift Thursday, Sept. 15 to members of the wrestling team — who had no idea of the gift until the announcement — and other members of the F&M community.

“Dave Lehman’s generous gift will play a vital role in cultivating the values of leadership, service, teamwork and integrity that are at the core of our mission in the athletics program,” Porterfield said. “Franklin & Marshall is proud to have an alumnus of the College demonstrate such pride and dedication to sustaining the educational values that have created a tradition of excellence throughout the history of F&M wrestling and all athletics at F&M.”

According to Porterfield, F&M discussed the idea of a gift with Lehman for several months before he made his contribution to the wrestling team. He also noted that Lehman’s gift comes just as the College begins its new capital campaign to raise funds, commenting that this endowed gift may inspire fellow alumni to donate.

“We are a school where a gift can make a difference,” Porterfield said.

Lehman, who could not attend the announcement, feels happy that he is able to benefit from his F&M
experience and pay it forward to new generations of students.

“When you get the sort of payoff from attending F&M that I did, I like to think, how do you pay that back?” he said in an article on F&M’s news website, “$5 Million Lehman Endowment Gift to Support Wrestling for Generations of Student-Athletes.”

Sophomore Layth Ismail is a staff writer. His email is lismail@fandm.edu.

Junior Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is sviera@fandm.edu.

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