Access and Affordability, Stories of Impact

Donor Impact – Jeffrey Osgood ’79

It was mother’s love that led Joan Osgood to invest in Houghton. She wanted a place where her second son, Jeffrey ’79, would thrive in his training in the sciences. When Jeffrey chose Houghton because of the welcoming, friendly atmosphere, she realized he was joining a community like no other. From students who introduced themselves and welcomed him to professors who supported him at every stage, Joan was amazed at Jeffrey’s transformation at Houghton.

She recalls an episode that was especially poignant. Jeffrey and the entire physics department stayed with the Osgood family while attending an exhibition in New York City. Although Joan had prepared bedrooms for the two faculty members, they insisted on sleeping on the family room floor, sharing in the experience with the students. Their humility and desire to identify with the students astounded her. Osgood reflects, “There is no greater impact than the example of someone’s life—a Christian life—truly lived out in small things.”

When Jeffrey passed away at the age of 27 from cancer, Joan and her late husband Donald Osgood ’52 wanted to honor him in a tangible way. They decided the most effective way was to give to the school where Jeffrey had had so many wonderful experiences. The couple established the Jeffrey Osgood Memorial Scholarship in 1987 to provide funding for students like Jeffrey who were majoring in math or science. They wanted other students to have the kind of rich and empowering educational experience Jeffrey had had—an education that deepened his faith and prepared him for advanced study and a career in the sciences.

For Joan, investing in the education of students is not only a memorial to a son profoundly transformed by Houghton but also a perpetual gift to others who, like Jeffrey, will be impacted for years to come by the dedication and commitment of the Houghton community.