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Dietz: Valued friend, with true servant leader’s heart

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Franklin College lost a dear and valued friend when Clifford Dietz died last week at age 94.

Dietz served as secretary of the Franklin College Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2010. He served as a trustee from 1978 to 1982 and was reappointed in 1983, continuing to serve until his passing. In 1984, the Franklin College Alumni Council named him an associate alumnus for service to the college. He received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Franklin College in 1986.

The generosity of Dietz and his wife, Paula, is evident across campus through numerous named facilities, including the professional development center, a dormitory and the baseball field. They were charter members of the Franklin College President’s Club and the college’s Leaders for Life giving society. They also served as national co-leaders of the college’s Leaders for Life Campaign, which raised $48,540,782.

The Dietzes established the Clifford and Paula Dietz Franklin College Library Rare Book Endowment Fund in 1979, when they also established the Clifford and Paula Dietz Award for Faculty Excellence, first presented in 1980. They also established the Engineered Models Inc. Scholarship Fund, the largest corporate endowed scholarship at Franklin College.

His gifts to the college over the years in terms of not only money but also time are many and incalculable. He was a true servant leader.

This was made especially clear when he was asked to join the college’s board of trustees.

His professional experience alone would have been an asset for the board, but Dietz was not interested in being a ceremonial trustee. He was a roll-up-your-sleeves type.

For example, when he served as chairman of the board’s physical facilities committee, he literally walked around campus with members of the college’s physical plant staff to see what repairs needed to be made and should be made. Once in a while, he even helped fix them himself.

In addition, each year he sent personally signed Christmas cards to each member of the faculty and staff.

The Dietz name will grace campus buildings for years to come, as will the several scholarships he endowed at the college.

Franklin College President James “Jay” Moseley put it very clearly when he said that few people can claim to have an impact that will extend for generations after their death, but Dietz is one of them.

But the college wasn’t Dietz’s only passion. He also helped Judson University near Chicago. He was a charter member of the World War II Memorial Society and traveled to the grand opening of the national monument in Washington. He was active in the Baptist church in Indianapolis and later in Franklin.

The contributions Dietz made in a variety of areas are incalculable and will have an impact for generations to come.

Many will benefit from his generosity, but those who knew him can draw inspiration from his life. He truly had a servant leader’s heart.

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