Grateful Grad Donates Fortune

Secret millionaire gives her fortune to the three universities that shaped her life.

Evelyn Marie Lutz grew up in the years of the Great Depression. Without any financial support from her family, she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Rochester. But she didn’t stop there. She went on to get a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University, Ohio.⁠


After her graduation, she diligently saved her money amassing a fortune in the process, with the intention to eventually give back to something that meant so much to her in life: her education. "Her universities were very special to her," Lutz's second cousin and caretaker, Sue Mower, said. "She never married. She had no children. So actually, the universities were her life."


Before her passing, Evelyn made sure to include in her will the three universities that defined her career. The University of Rochester received about $641,000, Case Western Reserve University got $640,000, and $1.3 million was endowed to the University of Colorado.⁠


“She … gave back quietly without the expectation of much fanfare and recognition,” Travis Leiker, senior director at the University of Colorado commented. “And I think that’s the beauty of her story…”