For Alumni Couple Who Met at Allegheny, Ties to the College Remain Strong
Robert and Mary Utter were both very active in Greek life while students at Allegheny College. Mary joined Alpha Delta Pi as a sophomore, and Robert joined Delta Tau Delta as a junior. Both graduated in 2006.
Several years later as they made their way through post-graduate school and early advances in their careers in Pittsburgh, the Utters decided to make a philanthropic decision that was based on their enjoyment of Greek life on campus: They chose to work with the College and get involved in the Delta Tau Delta expansion project, volunteering time and money to the cause.
“Robert took an active role in the capital campaign, and with this we made a pledge to support the campaign,” Mary said. “It was rewarding for many reasons. First, the DTD organization was important to both of us as undergraduates and then as alumni, so it was important to give back. Secondly, it was a significant pledge for us at the time, and we had to make sacrifices to be able to give, which made it even more rewarding to see the dream come to fruition.”
The renovated and expanded DTD house on Highland Avenue, which includes 33 single student rooms, re-opened in fall 2015.
The Utters have been seriously involved with their alma mater since graduation, both in terms of volunteer work and as financial supporters. They have served as career mentors for current students and have been involved in the VISA program — Volunteers in Service to Allegheny. In addition, Robert serves on the Timothy Alden Council Executive Committee, and Mary sits on the Alumni Council.
“These roles help us to stay connected to what the College is doing and provide motivation to continue to give because we see all the good that the College does on a daily basis for students,” Robert said.
“We are fortunate in that we both feel similarly about Allegheny and about giving back to the organization that gave us so much,” said Mary, who is the assistant dean of students at Chatham University. “We both value higher education in general and that makes our charitable giving decision making easier — that we are on the same page. It’s important to us that we do what we can to give others the opportunities that we had.”
The couple met while living on campus during the summer of their sophomore year when Mary worked in Student Activities and Robert was on the Conference and Events staff. “After graduation, our relationship with Allegheny continued as we were married in Ford Chapel in 2008,” Mary said.
The Utters moved to Pittsburgh where Robert studied at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and Mary took a job in Student Life at Pitt, where she also would earn her MBA and Ph.D. She moved to her job at Chatham University in 2015. After law school, Robert started working at a firm in Pittsburgh and also started a secondary venture as a real estate investor.
“Eventually, it made sense to pursue real estate full time, so I am now the president of our real estate investment company, which buys and manages residential apartment buildings,” Robert said.
The Utters said they make their philanthropic choices “based on what’s meaningful to us. Other than the DTD house, all of our financial support has gone to the College without specifying how it is used,” Mary said. “For us, it’s about the greatest need of the College, and we’re not in the place to decide what that is. We know the College’s leadership team is making the best decisions for students and the College.”
Added Robert: “We give to Allegheny because the institution and the people have given so much to us. We are thankful for the world-class education we received, the important mentors, faculty and friends we have met and that the College continues to engage with us as alumni.”