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Trustee Directs Retirement Payments to Westminster

Trustee Directs Retirement Payments to Westminster
Dr. Thomas Shields, '52, could not believe he was old enough to begin receiving payments from a state retirement plan. However, he felt blessed to have reached a point in his life to begin receiving this stream of income. When he retired as an orthopaedic surgeon, he was honored to serve eight years (1998-2006) in the Maine House of Representatives. That legislative service resulted in a retirement benefit.

After discussing the use of the new retirement income with his wife Bethel, Dr. Shields decided they could do without the money and use it to help an endowed scholarship to grow that the couple had established at Westminster College in 2001.

Dr. Shields is the middle family member of three generations who attended Westminster. His father, James Thomas, and son, James Bryant ("Jeb"), '87, a U.S. navy navigator who lost his life when his plane went down in 1991, both enjoyed their time at Westminster. Dr. Shields majored in biology, was a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, and was elected Student Government Association President during his years at Westminster.

With such deep family roots and wonderful memories at Westminster, Dr. and Mrs. Shields wanted to help other students to discover the opportunities available at the College. So far, five students have benefited from the Shields' generosity. Now, thanks to Dr. Shields' foresight in directing his retirement payments to go directly into the family's endowment scholarship fund, many more students will benefit from the Shields' benevolence.

The two latest beneficiaries are Lauren Pilgrim, '07, from Gerald, MO and Robert Tanner Warbinton, '10, from Webb City, MO. Upon graduation, Pilgrim taught math and physics at North Callaway High School and is starting a graduate degree in the Smart Program at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Warbinton has not declared a major yet and is a member of the Blue Blazers Investment Club and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. He was named to the Dean's List the past two semesters. Pilgrim and Warbinton had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Shields at Alumni Weekend 2007.

"To meet with these scholarship students and hear how well they are doing really gives you a sense of accomplishment," says Shields. "They are very appreciative and make sure I know that they would not be able to attend college and pursue their dreams without this scholarship help. Bethel and I are happy to have this opportunity to use the rewards of our lives to assist these deserving young people."

Dr. Shields is a Lifetime Trustee at Westminster College.


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