Message from the Founders Society Co–chairs

We are honored to represent you as the 2012 Founders Society leadership team. When we were asked to comment on why we choose to support Towson University at the leadership level, each of us reflected on our personal experiences. We invite you to read our stories here and on the spotlights throughout the Founders Society web pages. We hope you will develop your own reasons and accept our invitation to join this important leadership group at Towson.


Ellen and Jon Bortz, TU Parent Co-chairsAs TU parents, we are greatly impressed with the quality of education and variety of academic offerings at Towson University. Jon's mother received a Masters in Education when Towson was still primarily a Teacher's College. Although we were aware that the College was evolving, we didn't realize until we experienced TU first hand, the incredible expansion of the University over the past 40 years. The opportunities are endless with areas of study expanding year after year.

Our son came to Towson as a sophomore after pursuing several other academic routes. He has finally found his niche in Computer Science and especially Computer Information Systems. He relates well to his professors and is engaged in his academics more than ever before. He has also been given the opportunity to expand on his love of automobiles by founding Towson Tuning, a school sanctioned club that hosts Auto Meets and Charity events.

We both strongly believe in the value of a college education as a critical aspect of having successful career opportunities in this challenging world. It is important to us that all talented students have access to a good education, and that financial burdens should never prohibit them from attending college. We also know that tuition covers only a fraction of the costs involved in retaining the quality faculty and resources that enhance the education obtained at Towson University. For this reason we have chosen to make TU one of our top philanthropic recipients.

Ellen and Jon Bortz, TU Parent Co-chairs


Brad Callahan CLA '90While Towson accepted me as a teenager without direction, I graduated with a clear career path which has been extremely rewarding. As I have become more involved at Towson, I have become more aware of the population range that the university touches. I always have been proud of my TU degree and find myself talking more about the university and how proud I am of its depth and breadth. It is a school that continues to grow and impress in a very structured fashion.

Brad Callahan CLA '90, Alumni Co-chair


Connie Kihm CLA ’95 and Jim Kihm, 2011 Co-chairsConnie reflects, “As a non-traditional age student, I regarded the university as a convenient, low-cost, accessible method to achieve my degree.  After graduation through my alumni involvement, I gained an appreciation for the quality of my education, for the dedication of the faculty and staff, and for the importance of alumni giving.

As an undergraduate, I thought the school was wholly state and tuition supported.  As I became involved with the Alumni Association, I understood that the school gets less than 30% of its funding from the state.  As an engaged alumna, I realize that the university needs alumni involvement-financially, emotionally, and politically.

Towson University is one of the best kept secrets in the state.  Low student-faculty ratios; identical graduation rates among black, Hispanic and white students; and the leader in Business, Health Professions, and Education degrees make Towson an important mechanism that fuels the economic engine of Maryland.  The more the Alumni involvement, the greater the University!

Husband Jim Kihm adds, “In addition, Towson afforded Connie a quality education, but more than that it gave her a sense of worth and heightened her self-esteem.  There is no amount of money that can purchase that, but we hope our donations will reach future generations of students and give them the gifts that transcend the classroom. “

Connie Kihm CLA ’95 and Jim Kihm, Alumni & Friends Co-chairs



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membership report

The 2011 Founders Society's program ended on June 30, 2011. We extend our sincere thanks to the 557 members whose commitment enabled the Society to exceed key benchmarks for every college and for programs across the campus.

Who has joined the 2011 Founders Society?

• 207 charter members
• 281 alumni
• 138 friends of the university
• 60 parents
• 76 faculty and staff members
• 2 student
• 76 recent graduates (1-10 years out) who are members of the Principal’s Circle
• 10 Golden Tigers, who have contributed to Towson for 20 or more years

Since its formation in 2006, Founders Society leaders contributed more than $8 million to the university. Members supported a wide variety of university priorities, and the top three areas of impact remain scholarships, the University Enhancement Fund and Tiger Athletics.

We encourage you to join us as we build the future of Towson University by making your Founders Society level gift or pledge today.



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