'Berg honors alum, Trustee for commitment to student success

Dr. Terry Owen ’63 – a man with a keen eye for student success and a selfless spirit – is the recipient of the 2023 Trustee Distinguished Service Award.

The award was presented Thursday night by President Rob Huntington as part of the annual Heidelberg Heritage Society dinner. The dinner officially kicked off a three-day Alumni Weekend celebration.

In his acceptance remarks, Terry explained “why I’m so in love with Heidelberg and why I do what I do.” First and foremost, he met the love of his life, Edda Izzo, in France Hall when she was a sophomore and he was a freshman. Next week, the couple celebrates their 60th wedding anniversary. Second, thanks to favorite psychology professor, the late Dr. Leon Wise, Terry mapped out and executed the perfect career plan, which he followed to a “T.”

“I had a great plan, great advice and a great job that enabled me to do what I love to do,” Terry said. The “why” behind the philanthropic support that Terry and Edda have committed to Heidelberg has been their desire to create circumstances so people and alumni can have better lives.

“Heidelberg has been the biggest beneficiary of what we do because of what Heidelberg has done for us,” he said.

They truly have paid it forward.

Champions for student success

There are perhaps no greater champions for student success at Heidelberg than Terry and Edda. Their financial support for these and other student-centric initiatives places them among the most significant members of Heidelberg’s Builders & Benefactors.

From their first $20 gift in 1976 – 13 years after Terry’s graduation from Heidelberg – they have continually embraced a holistic approach to their philanthropy: Catch students as they enter Heidelberg, help them prepare and thrive while they’re here and set them up for successful careers. 

You have to look no further than the Owen Center for Teaching and Learning to see the fruits of their generosity. Dedicated in their name in 2013 following an endowed gift, The Owen Center reaches the entire Heidelberg community by providing academic support, advising, and accessibility services for students. For faculty, the center promotes best practices in teaching, instructional technology, orientation and mentoring, observations and pedagogical support. In their support for AIM Hei, the Owens struck gold in connecting their generous giving to Heidelberg’s core mission. 

“Terry has been a leadership voice for students in moving Heidelberg forward,” Rob said. “His giving is always aimed at student success and that has made a real difference.”

A leader in the making

From his undergrad days at Heidelberg, the notion that Terry has strong leadership skills began to emerge, and it has played out in his professional career. At Heidelberg, he was president of Excelsior, co-captain of the football team and head waiter in the old Commons – ironically, the same space as the dinner venue last night. 

Armed with a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Illinois and a career foundation as a corporate psychologist, Terry joined PRADCO, the Personal Research and Development Corp., in 1971, After a series of promotions, he took over as president in 1981 and as CEO in 2008. Ultimately, he bought the company.

“Terry asks questions. Lots of questions,” Rob said. “He listens very intently too. That’s how he learns and how he leads. It has served him well and it has served Heidelberg well.”

Service to BOT, HU

Terry has been a member of Heidelberg’s Board of Trustees since 2012. Time and again, he has demonstrated his care and passion for Heidelberg. He currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee as well as the Enrollment Management & Marketing, Finance & Facilities and chair of the University Advancement & Alumni Affairs committees. His leadership has been instrumental in guiding Heidelberg toward its strategic goals.

In addition to a bequest Terry and Edda have established, naming Heidelberg as a beneficiary, they are consistent donors to The Heidelberg Fund. They have supported such important ‘Berg capital initiatives as Hoernemann Stadium, Gillmor Science Hall, the Saurwein Health & Wellness Center and its Philalethean fireplace, and the track and field resurfacing project, among other special projects.

Next steps

Today, Terry continues to shape the lives of current and future Student Princes. Together, he and Edda have pledged their support to the planned Student and Community Welcome Center. Additionally, Terry has lent his professional expertise to the creation of a PRADCO-based tool for the HYPE Career Ready® and Placement Program. One tool will evaluate the leadership potential of first-year students and a second will be administered to students in their fourth year to test HYPE’s effectiveness in helping them grow their career readiness and skill set. The latter also will prepare students to understand how to utilize their strengths and work with others in their chosen career field.

With this body of contributions, it’s safe to say Terry’s Heidelberg legacy is cemented in history. He joins past and current trustees in receiving the Distinguished Service Award, including Bob Youngblood ’70, the late Rev. Dr. Ralph Quellhorst ’59, Andrew Kalnow, John Q. Adams ’58, Ralph Talmage, the late Gary Bryenton ’61, Dr. Susan Wolf ’71, Dr. David Drake ’58, Sondra Libman ’57, the late Ted Hieronymus ’65, John Kratz ’63 and Charlie Cole.

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