Pictured left to right: President Randy Helm, Linda M. Speidel Cenci '75, P'06 and Husband Victor P'06. The Cencis received a crystal of the Haas Building in recognition of their generous gifts.


Complete Confidence

Linda M. Speidel Cenci ’75, P’06 and Husband Victor P’06
Make Unrestricted Leadership Gifts to Muhlenberg’s 
Endowment and Annual Fund

March 30, 2010

“We have been making an annual gift to Muhlenberg for many years. When the [Talents] Campaign came along, we felt compelled to do more,” says Linda M. Speidel Cenci ’75, P’06. Linda and her husband, Victor P’06, made two recent leadership gifts to the campaign to general endowment for scholarship support and unrestricted support to The Muhlenberg Fund. The Cencis' gift to The Muhlenberg Fund was matched 3-to-1 by IBM, Victor’s employer, and will be used to purchase computer equipment for the College.

“We think the College administration makes good choices,” says Victor. “Because of that, we wanted to provide the latitude for the college to decide how our gifts are spent.”

“We know that tuition only covers a certain amount of each student’s yearly expenses,” adds Linda. “We want to keep the quality of the Muhlenberg experience high.”

It is the quality of her Muhlenberg experience that Linda still remembers from her own days as a student. “I was drawn to the atmosphere at Muhlenberg, the closeness, the opportunity to engage with faculty. My experience was very positive.”

“I commuted to New York University, and my campus was Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, a very different environment from Allentown”, says Victor. “Over the years, as I came to reunions and homecoming with Linda, I got the chance to experience the small college atmosphere she had and came to appreciate Muhlenberg as much as she does.”

Linda majored in mathematics and was involved in music as a Muhlenberg student. She sang in the College Choir and the Chapel Choir, continued her study of piano and accompanied several solo and choral performances. She says these were invaluable experiences. “Participating in these extracurricular activities really rounded out my education.” She cites Dr. Charles McClain, former director of the College Choir and acting dean of the College during Linda’s senior year, as a favorite faculty member who influenced her greatly.

“Our daughter, Erica (’06), who graduated with a degree in English and theatre arts, had similar experiences working closely with faculty, especially Karen Dearborn (director of Muhlenberg’s dance program) and the theater arts faculty. I think that maybe the creative process of the arts creates a closer bond between students and professors,” says Linda.

Both Victor and Linda say that Erica came to the decision to attend Muhlenberg on her own after an extensive college search. “She sat in on a class with Francine Roussel and spent time talking with Charlie Richter and that was it,” says Linda. “She knew the campus quite well because we always came back for Reunions and Homecoming.”

While Erica was a student, Linda and Victor served on the Parents Council. “We came to appreciate Muhlenberg even more through the Council. I continue to stay tied into what’s happening by serving on the Alumni Board,” says Linda, who also is a member of the College’s Board of Observers.

The Cencis say that they have the utmost trust in the administration and staff at Muhlenberg, particularly College President, Randy Helm. “Our interaction with Randy started when we were on Parents Council and we are very impressed with the way he reaches out to alumni and parents, asks them for feedback and provides updates and information openly. His approach is to face even tough questions head-on and to be transparent in strategic planning,” they say. “We are confident that our gifts are in good hands.”

For more information on unrestricted gifts to the College's endowment or to The Muhlenberg Fund, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 484-664-3247 or talentscampaign@muhlenberg.edu

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