The Gertrude Gary Sutcliffe Society
The Gertrude Gary Sutcliffe Society recognizes individuals who help ensure the mission of the Disciples Divinity House by providing a gift through their estate. The Sutcliffe Society was created to encourage others to continue Mrs. Sutcliffe’s example and to acknowledge publicly those who carry forward the tradition of vision and action.
In May 1928, Dean E. S. Ames received a letter from Mrs. Gertrude Gary Sutcliffe saying, "I am quite interested in the new Disciples Divinity House and feel that I would like to provide the furnishings."
In 1929, Mrs. Sutcliffe made another pledge to fund the completion of the chapel. These two important gifts marked the beginning of many years of generous involvement.
Mrs. Sutcliffe’s vision and action was not limited to enhancing the building. She dedicated her philanthropic resources to help ensure the excellence of the Disciples Divinity House and its graduates in every way. Over the coming years her gifts of almost $700,000 launched the scholarship endowment fund. By 1953, with a final gift from her estate, Mrs. Sutcliffe’s total contributions exceeded $1 million.
Dean Ames recounted her involvement: “Mrs. Sutcliffe made the Disciples House the special object of her benefactions and took a keen personal interest in its work and students. She knew how easily even large means may be disbursed among many causes without achieving distinctive and permanent results. She therefore adopted the policy of saying . . . that she would let others care for those interests while she concentrated what she could do for the Disciples Divinity House.”
Mrs. Sutcliffe was not only a generous benefactor, she was also a valued member of the community. She attended House dinners, welcomed students into her home, and followed their progress both during their student days and as they began their careers. Her gifts came without “strings.” She gave because she believed in this community of scholars. She personally witnessed how Disciples Divinity House Scholars were shaped for effective service. She knew, too, that the affiliation with the University of Chicago guaranteed the highest quality of academic preparation. She matched her gifts with confidence in the leadership and the students of the Disciples Divinity House.
Great institutions are created because individuals like Mrs. Sutcliffe combine vision with action. Sixty-six individuals or families have become members of the Sutcliffe Society by providing a gift to Disciples House through their estate and providing confirmation of their plans.