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Donor Spotlight: Truman L. Koehler, Jr. ’52, P’79 and Jeffrey D. Koehler ’79

Muhlenberg College is pleased to announce that Truman L. Koehler ’52, P’79 and Jeffrey D. Koehler ’79 have established The Koehler Scholarship.  This continues a long tradition of Koehler family support to Muhlenberg.

It all began in 1927 when Truman, Sr., graduate of the Class of 1924, began teaching at the College.  He was an inspired professor of mathematics for 45 years, serving as head of the department for 14 years.  “It was only logical that his legacy be honored through a professorship, and the Truman L. Koehler, Sr. ’24 Professorship in Mathematics was formed by my father with an initial gift of $25,000 on December 20, 1985,” says Truman, Jr. Family and friends also contributed to the fund over the years, and Dr. William Dunham was appointed the first professorship in 1988. 

Truman, Sr. instilled in his son and grandson how important it was to recognize Muhlenberg’s tremendous impact on their family and the importance of giving back, and that message was certainly heard.  Truman, Jr. served on the Board of Trustees for 15 years and is a member of the Lifetime Giving Society, a group comprised of Muhlenberg’s most devoted and generous donors.  Jeff is a member of the Board of Observers and the Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Society, Muhlenberg’s leadership donor society.  Jeff says, “Muhlenberg has given us so much, and it’s important to us be active and engaged alumni.”

Over the years, the Koehler family has supported Muhlenberg in many ways.  Three generations of alumni have made gifts to the College each year since graduation, for a combined total of 160 years of consecutive giving!  These gifts have resulted in the creation of several endowed funds.  The Trinity Lutheran Church Scholarship was funded through a provision in Truman, Sr.’s will because of his dedication to the Lutheran Church.  “This scholarship provides financial aid to members of the Reading parish whose children are accepted to Muhlenberg College, which was so important to my grandfather,” Jeff says.  The Miriam E. Koehler Excellence in Mathematics Award, named in memory of Truman, Sr.’s wife Miriam, provides an annual monetary prize to an outstanding freshman or sophomore mathematics major and is awarded each year at Honors Convocation.   

The Novartis (Sandoz) Endowed Science Scholars Program was established in 1995 in honor of Truman, Jr.’s service to the company as former group vice president and board member.  “This award, presented each year at Honors Convocation, provides a grant for graduate degree study in the sciences and has helped dozens of students in their career efforts,” says Truman, Jr.  Finally, The Miriam E. Koehler Scholarship Fund, first awarded in 1990, assists a student who exemplifies the characteristics of the American Association of University Women.  Upon further review, Truman, Jr. and Jeff discussed how they could make a more significant impact with their gifts, and they decided to roll this fund into The Koehler Scholarship, which will provide even more aid to a Muhlenberg student with financial need majoring in the natural or life sciences. 

Though they had been planning to set up a new scholarship for quite some time, the Muhlenberg Match Scholarship Challenge made the timing just right.  “We were thinking about doing this anyway, but the matching offer made us decide to lock in while the funds still exist.  It was important to us that this scholarship is to be available to a student for the four years he or she spends at Muhlenberg, and our expectation is that this student will someday pay it forward,” says Truman, Jr.

This experience has been very rewarding.  For us, it’s about the quality of the students at Muhlenberg.  They are outstanding and so grateful for our support,” says Jeff.  It is true, indeed, that many Muhlenberg students have benefited from the Koehler family’s generosity over the years.  Sarah Levitin ’14, recipient of The Miriam E. Koehler Scholarship Fund, states, “I cannot express how thankful I am and what this scholarship means for my higher education and future career. As a first generation American, education is important to my family. Without the Koehler family, I would not have this opportunity to learn and grow as a young adult in such a wonderful and nurturing atmosphere.”

To find out how you can join the Koehlers and other generous donors who have committed to the Muhlenberg Match Scholarship Challenge, please visit