The Legacy Wall is part of the John G. Fee Glade, located in the heart of Berea’s campus. Built in 2009, the Wall lists the more than 3,000 names of those who have included Berea in their wills or made life income agreements with the College that resulted in a charitable gift, like David Schultz. Names are updated annually after bequest distributions are received. Photo by Micah Jett Yates ‘16

David Schultz ’41 was born in North Dakota and raised in Berea, Ky., as the son of an industrial arts professor and a Baptist missionary. While Schultz’s father, Henry Schultz, taught in the Berea College Crafts department, he was enrolled at the Foundation School. When he graduated from the Foundation School, he was ready for a change of scenery and enrolled in Bluffton College in Ohio, where he played football and dreamed of a career in engineering. However, Bluffton was not accredited outside of Ohio and only had one math professor at the time, a situation Schultz once said, “was not ideal for a pre-engineering student.”

Schultz returned to Berea College and finished his degree in mathematics and economics in 1941. He went on to earn a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Kentucky and was hired at the Tennessee Eastman Company in Oak Ridge, Tenn. A short time later, due to downsizing, Schultz left Oak Ridge and went to work for a mining company in Magoffin County, Ky. Schultz’s innate love for learning prompted him to begin a program helping other miners learn to read and write after-hours and on the weekends. Miners would pay $5 to participate, which they earned back after they successfully learned these vital skills.

At the onset of the Korean War, Schultz was approached about returning to Oak Ridge National Laboratories as an engineer, and was selected to work in the ORNL law office. He obtained his law degree and continued working for ORNL for more than 30 years. There, he met his wife, Ann, to whom he was married for 67 years, before she passed away in 2010.

His time at the ORNL legal affairs division was some of the most satisfying work of his career, he told Berea President Lyle Roelofs during a 2013 visit. Schultz “was the happiest when working and doing something new,” Roelofs recalled Schultz saying.

Even after a 30-year career with ORNL and serving as president of the Oak Ridge Federal Credit Union, Schultz still was motivated by trying new things. He and Ann traveled to 31 different countries throughout their lives, and he continued broadening his education by completing 34 Great Courses in everything from string theory to linguistics, to Beethoven’s symphonies, to Ancient Civilization, to Revelation, noted former gift officer Amy Shehee ’91, who worked with Schultz for many years.

portrait of David Schultz
David Schultz ’41, circa 1938

Schultz often emphasized how highly he regarded the mission of Berea College to provide opportunity to smart students with financial need. He believed Berea was changing the world, and that belief led he and Ann to commit their entire estate to Berea College as part of the College’s Great Commitments Society. Schultz was savvy with money and had a portfolio that Merrill Lynch used as a template for other retirees. He was fond of saying that he was building and securing his assets so that Berea would receive as much as possible when he died.

This past March, at the age of 98, Schultz passed away, leaving more than $1 million in his estate to Berea College. Schultz said that it was part of his commitment to do some good with his resources. Giving back to the school that gave him his start, and investing in the lives of other students who cannot afford a good education, he said, was the best way for him to serve his country.

“David was a woodworker, painter, investor, engineer, human resource specialist, literary champion, Civil Rights champion, gentleman and a piano player,” Shehee wrote about Schultz.


Abbie Darst '03 is an article writing, husband loving, kid raising, cheer coaching, God serving, busy woman. Whether it's been in sports, law enforcement or higher education, Abbie has dedicated her career to telling stories that speak of mission, passion and the best parts of human experience. She's been telling Berea's amazing stories since 2017.

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