Paying back Culver since 1970
February 12, 2019

Scott Arquilla ’69 remembers his first gift to Culver. It was the spring semester of his freshman year at Drake University.

“I remember writing the check and dropping it in the mail,” he said. “I believe that was my first contribution.”

It was when he realized how Culver prepared him for his future. After being an average student at Culver, Arquilla ended up making the Dean’s List several times during his undergraduate career, then during graduate school at Northwestern University.

It wasn’t that he spent all his time studying, Arquilla said, but Culver instilled the discipline to make sure he set aside time to study – and to make that time count.

“I quickly learned when I went to college I was totally prepared,” he said. “I was extraordinarily lucky to have a teacher my last year, Arthur G. Hughes. He taught me how to write. It is something that I have used for the last 49 years.”

It meant so much to Arquilla that he thanked Hughes’ daughter, Greta ’59, during a weekend 20 years ago. “I just thanked her for her family being a part of Culver.”

Now, nearly 50 years later, Arquilla can’t remember a time that he didn’t make a contribution. The donations were not large, but they were consistent. “I may have missed a year or two,” he said, “but I can’t remember a time.” Records show that he hasn’t.

While most people would say they are paying it forward, Arquilla believes he is simply “paying back” everything Culver has done for him professionally and personally.

“I didn’t realize it while I was there, the opportunity that was given to me. Maybe I’m just trying to repay those teachers, counselors, and coaches who struggled with me – who told me I could do better.”  He knew shortly before graduation that his parents had provided a gift of a lifetime.

“I’m just trying to repay everyone who made me who I am today. Those four years gave me a great deal of self-discipline.”

That self-discipline has also helped him manage his type I diabetes over the past 48 years. He believes lessons learned at Culver have allowed him to manage his condition so effectively. “I don’t think I would be alive today,” he said. “I’m convinced of it.”

“I would hope the kids graduating this year, last year, and all those kids I met while I was on the Legion Board, get the message,” he said “Start small, and as you become more financially successful, maybe you can make it possible for a student who needs a scholarship or financial aid to attend Culver.”

His time on the Legion Board helped Arquilla understand the “financial pie” and the important role alumni support plays in that. “I would hope that all the alums would support Culver.”

And that support doesn’t necessarily always have to be financial, he added. He has served as reunion committee volunteer for a number of his reunions, and is currently working on his 50th class reunion in May. He was active in the Culver Club of Chicago from 1975, president for four years, until retiring to South Carolina. And he spent six years serving on the Legion Board. He has also participated in several Culver Connections events.

For Arquilla, it is simply his way of saying thank you to the place that gave him such a “nurturing group of faculty, counselors, coaches, and others. It made me what I am today.”

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