Honoring the financial and intellectual support they received as Lycoming College students is important to Harriet (Hooven) ’69 and Mel ’68 Fleming, who met as college students and married in 1968. That is why they have named Lycoming College as beneficiary of portions of their IRAs.
Both majored in mathematics — a solid foundation that propelled them into successful careers. Mel pursued a 27-year career with the FBI that took him all over the country, while Harriet, who entered the workforce after raising their three children, quickly rose in the ranks at a local bank to become a branch manager.
As recipients of financial support while at Lycoming, they know first-hand the financial travails of students who come from modest means.
“My wrestling coach, Budd Whitehill, helped me navigate the financial aid system to offset much of my costs, leaving only about a third of the bill to be paid with loans,” Mel said. “For that I am very grateful.” Harriet was in a similar financial situation with student loans. “As we began to plan for our lives together after college, we had few belongings and significant debts,” she said.
Reflecting on their time at Lycoming, the Flemings know it was an ideal school for them.
“My advisor, Professor Frances Skeath, opened my eyes to what a liberal arts education really meant,” said Harriet. “At her suggestion I took several classes outside of my major, including a music appreciation class, which I loved. I recall driving my roommates crazy by listening to assigned pieces over and over again in our room.”
Mel agrees Lycoming was special. “Our professors knew our names and the smaller classes enabled us to get engaged,” he said. He recalled one of his first experiences with English professor, Jerry Madden, who helped him to grow academically.
“We feel very blessed for our good fortune and want to share that with others,” said Mel. “We maintain a close relationship with friends, fraternity brothers and their spouses, and we make a point to visit Lycoming, especially for Alumni and Homecoming events.”
The couple also contributes to the college through the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity scholarship, the Budd Whitehill Endowment and the Lycoming Fund. “It’s very rewarding to help others have the same opportunities we’ve had.”