A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Will and Ellen Ziegler fund very first endowed chair at Thomas More University — in philosophy


A new endowment at Thomas More University establishes The Wilbert L. and Ellen Hackman Ziegler Chair of the Philosophy Department, marking the first endowed chair in University history.

The donation is made by the Zieglers in appreciation for the transformative educational experience they received during their years as students at Villa Madonna College (VMC), now Thomas More University, ensuring that future students of Thomas More have the same life-changing opportunities.

Second Century Campaign: Thomas More University President Joseph Chillo, chair of board of trusteed Judith Marlow, and Will Ziegler, honorary chair

Ellen Hackman Ziegler ’70, was an English major during her time at VMC. She later went on to serve the community as a clinical psychologist. Wilbert Ziegler ’53, J.D., was a first-generation college student when he started at VMC at just 15-years-old, majoring in philosophy and history/political science. Giving back to the philosophy department is a way to celebrate the faculty that made a lasting impact on his life.

Philosophy professors, “prepared me well for law school,” says Ziegler. “Sister Mary Camilla, Ph.D., CDP, was my philosophy teacher. And I recall Sister Mary Rosina Ph.D., CDP.”

Ziegler fondly recalled these relationships when reconnecting with the University in 2015 as a member of the Board of Trustees. He also now serves as Honorary Chair of the Thomas More Second Century Campaign. While Ziegler recognizes that “there are many challenges for Catholic education,” he praises the University for how it “has maintained its mission as it has grown and matured.”

The Wilbert L. and Ellen Hackman Ziegler Chair brings innovation to the University through supporting excellence in the philosophy department, ensuring the highest quality faculty. A faculty member earns this honor through his or her demonstrated skills as an educator and scholar, using these assets to mentor fellow and future faculty within the department, promoting Thomas More University’s core values of student success and academic innovation. This position is currently held by Reverend Monsignor Gerald E. Twaddell, D.Phil.

“The Wilbert L. and Ellen Hackman Ziegler Chair helps us to realize our strategic plan by ensuring that our students continue to engage philosophy as a foundation to their liberal arts education and that every student has the opportunity to explore the ultimate meaning of life and their responsibility toward others,” says Thomas More University President Joseph L. Chillo, LP.D. “This is just one example of how contributions to the Second Century Campaign are already making a major impact for our students. It is incredible to see our community coming together to recognize Thomas More as the region’s premier Catholic University.”

Will Ziegler

The endowed chair was made possible through a leadership contribution by the Zieglers during the silent phase of Thomas More University’s Second Century capital campaign, prior to its public launch in fall of 2021. Through previous endowments, Ziegler has created three scholarship funds to support Thomas More students: the Wilbert L. and Ellen Hackman Ziegler Scholarship Fund is a newly created opportunity for pre-law students, the Wilbert L. and Anna M. Ziegler Scholarship Fund, in memory of his parents, has helped over 100 students in the decades since its creation, and the Wilbert & Helen Ziegler Scholarship Fund, created with Ziegler’s late wife, is a partnership with the College of Law at the University of Cincinnati intended to encourage Thomas More graduates to attend the College of Law.

For more information about Thomas More University’s Second Century Campaign, visit www.thomasmore100.com.


Related Posts

One Comment

  1. Will and Ellen Ziegler are two of our Northern Kentucky Citizens that care about the young people of our Commonwealth and entire area. I have admired them for decades for their community service. Thomas More has been a great asset for all of our citizens. I remember when I was President of the Student Government of the University of Kentucky Northern Kentucky Community College now Northern Kentucky University. Lou Defislay, Larry Horwitz and I formed the YOUNG FRIENDS OF THE ARTS FOR THE GREATER CINCINNATI, NORTHERN KENTUCKY AREA and with the three schools we have played a major role in the economic growth and development of our area’s. Thank you very much Will and Ellen Ziegler..
    Dr. John Stephenson Former Superintendent of Education for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Reply to Dr. John Stephenson Cancel Reply