A Chance to Shine
They’ve spent their careers helping students succeed.
Their planned gift will help keep that vision alive.
Learning without burden
Dr. Jen Bacon and Maggie Krall are more than believers in the transformative power of higher education — they’re proof of it. Jen is the dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Humanities, and Maggie is the Director of Administration of the MD-PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. Both credit their successes to being able to graduate without excessive financial burdens.
“Since I got my undergraduate degree from an affordable public university, I graduated without debt,” Jen says. “When I went to get my master’s degree and doctorate, I didn’t have that burden hanging over me. It meant I could focus on my studies in a different kind of way than someone who’d have to work all the time to pay their bills.”
Similarly, Maggie was able to graduate debt-free with the support of her late father, David Krall ’60. An education major at WCU, David went on to earn a successful career as a senior leader at The LEGO Group. “In a sense, neither Maggie or I would have the lives we have, or the resources we have to share, if it weren’t for WCU,” Jen says.
So when Jen and Maggie began to plan the future of their estate, they decided to help students gain that same freedom to learn — without the stress of debt. Working closely with the West Chester University Foundation, the couple created a bequest to support students with demonstrated financial need, and a commitment to reducing inequality through community service, activism, or writing.
Dr. Jen Bacon and Maggie Krall
Dean of West Chester University’s College of Arts and Humanities, and Director of Administration of the MD-PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania, respectively
“If we’re richer at the end of our lives because of the incredible educations we’ve been able to receive and champion, then the least we can do is make sure those resources go toward ensuring future students have the same opportunities.” – Dr. Jen Bacon
"Over the years, the depth of my passion for the community and institution has only grown. I truly couldn’t be prouder, and it feels good to envision a future in which Maggie and I will leave a financial contribution to this place we love.” - Dr. Jen Bacon
A gift of gratitude
For Jen and Maggie, the decision to support future students was an easy one. “We are passionate about higher education as a transformative power,” Jen says. “We wish public education were truly public, and that no student had to choose between attending college or feeding their family. So we wanted to help make education more affordable for anyone who wants it.”
By working with the West Chester University Foundation, Jen and Maggie were able to turn their passions into concrete language and goals that would stand the test of time. The result is a broad bequest that propels students into new experiences, from college to internships to studies abroad.
Jen’s hope is that more faculty will be inspired to give back to the institution that supports them. “I’m assuming most of our faculty will be retiring in really good shape, thanks to our great compensation and benefit plans,” she says. “WCU is our employer, but many of our students are going to face significant financial barriers. If we have the resources to support causes we care about, why wouldn’t we consider this cause? Even small legacies can make a huge difference.”
Ultimately, Jen says their gift empowers Maggie and herself to express their gratitude for their opportunities to thrive — and pay it forward to future students. “WCU has given me a great job, and it feels like family,” Jen says. “We both feel incredibly fortunate to be able to predict we will have resources, so of course we want a big part of our estate to support a cause we both believe in.”