A History of Supporting Future Leaders
How the Swope family is reenergizing their long legacy of giving.
When it comes to supporting students, Dr. Dawn Swope Apgar and Charles (“Chuck”) E. Swope, Jr. draw from three generations of family inspiration.
Their grandfather, Charles S. Swope, served as President of West Chester State Teachers College. Their grandmother, Edna, and respective fathers, Richard M. Swope and Charles S. Swope, formed The Swope Foundation in 1960, which has provided over one million dollars in scholarship funds to West Chester University students.
Today, Dawn and Chuck see themselves as stewards of their family’s mission. “Our grandparents, then parents, recognized the world is shaped by the great minds of the future,” Dawn says. “They felt it’s important to pay it forward by investing in bright, motivated students.”
To help cement that mission in perpetuity, Dawn and Chuck recently completed the strategic transition of the family Foundation into a memorial endowment.
“We wanted to leverage the institutional capabilities of the West Chester University Foundation,” Chuck says. “We like knowing there’s a plan for the future, and it allows us to focus less on the business aspects and more on the students.”
For the Swopes, those relationships anchor their family’s mission to give back.
“It’s an opportunity to stay close despite the size of the University,” Dawn says. “Our foundation is now in its fourth generation, and I’ve still stayed in contact with past recipients. Our hope is that the scholarships are an example of how students can feel connected — with one another and with our family.”
Chuck Swope, Jr. and Dawn Swope Apgar
Creators, The Dr. and Mrs. Charles S. Swope Memorial Endowment
"Our grandparents, then parents, recognized the world is shaped by the great minds of the future. They felt it's important to pay it forward by investing in bright, motivated students."
“We wanted to leverage the institutional capabilities of the West Chester University Foundation. We like knowing there’s a plan for the future, and it allows us to focus less on the business aspects and more on the students.”
Erin Casey ’19
For six years, Erin Casey ’19 has worked toward becoming a bilingual speech-language pathologist. Currently, she’s enrolled in the Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program, pursuing the Bilingual Emphasis Course Sequence (BECS) option within the M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology.
“West Chester has helped me to become more outgoing and proactive — taking advantage of the opportunities available to me,” says Erin. In addition to working as a Spanish tutor at WCU’s Learning Assistance and Resource Center, she has also volunteered her time with Head Start at the Chester County Intermediate Unit: as an interpreter, she accompanied social workers on home visits and as a teacher assistant, she read books in Spanish, played with the children, and translated forms for parents. She’s gained further practical knowledge as a receptionist at a speech therapy office.
“My dedication to my goals and to my status as a community member has always been a part of who I am,” she says. “A scholarship can change the trajectory of someone’s future in unanticipated and meaningful ways.”