Steele ’50 and Betty Mattingly ’51 have remained closely connected to Berea since they graduated in the early 1950s. Even when Steele’s career as a veterinarian took them to different areas of the country, they stayed in touch by volunteering for the Berea College Alumni Association. Steele served as president when the couple lived in Indianapolis, and they both served while living in Cincinnati.
Additionally, they have hosted students and presidents of the College at their home, and visit campus for reunions and other events when they can.
“We’ve enjoyed being able to have these individual, personal contacts with people,” Betty said. “It makes it very meaningful. We have cherished our Berea friends.”
Betty and Steele each had family ties to Berea before they enrolled as students. Steele’s mother attended Berea, so he knew about the College even before he started kindergarten. Betty’s brother attended Berea before her. The U.S. Navy’s V-12 program brought him to campus for preliminary officer training during World War II, and he returned to Berea after his service to complete his degree.
“He fell in love with Berea, and that’s how I became interested in Berea in the beginning,” Betty recalled.
In addition to the opportunity to earn their college degrees—Steele in animal husbandry and Betty in history—the two are grateful their journeys at Berea College brought them together. “We celebrated our 68th wedding anniversary in September,” Betty announced, “and we still remember the tree across from James Hall where he gave me the engagement ring.”
Steele says these experiences are part of what inspires them to contribute financially to Berea. Through the years, they have made a wide range of gifts—like steady support for the Berea Fund, planned gifts, and funds for special projects like the Dr. Steele F. Mattingly and Betty D. Mattingly Animal Holding Facility to be housed in the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building.
The Mattinglys explained their giving is paying back some of the things Berea has done for them.
“We were both blessed with being able to go to school there, and we feel that the right thing to do is to make it possible for other people,” Betty added.
They also give to Berea because they feel that education is an important way to improve the world. Betty sums up her feelings with a quote from Edward Bok, “‘Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.’ I think Berea tries to instill that in people—to make a contribution to society.”