Coworkers of alumnus Steve Barnes help fund scholarship

Oct. 26, 2009

Steve Barnes was surprised by several unique gifts from his professional colleagues when he retired as senior vice president of the Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based global investment firm, but the biggest surprise and the most rewarding gift was the announcement of the Barnes Memorial Scholarship.

Established in honor of his parents, Roy and Thelma Barnes, and funded by almost $75,000 in gifts to Luther from his colleagues, the Barnes Memorial Scholarship will provide financial aid for Gladbrook-Reinbeck (Iowa) High School students who enroll at Luther College. The first Luther student to benefit from the Barnes Memorial Scholarship is Rachel Schott, a Luther sophomore from Gladbrook.

“My career and retirement were a dream come true,” Barnes said. “I’m hoping this scholarship for GRHS graduates who attend Luther will play a role in allowing them to see their dreams come true as well.”

Gladbrook-Reinbeck students and their families can get more information about the Barnes Memorial Scholarship and other financial aid for college by calling the Luther College Student Financial Aid Office, 563-387-1018.

Barnes is a 1974 graduate of Luther College and a 1970 graduate of Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School.  He and his wife Paulette are residents of Niwot, Colo.

He retired from Capital Group in June 2008 after a successful 30-plus-year career in financial services and investment management. His professional associates and colleagues hosted a retirement celebration in his honor and presented him with some cherished gifts, included an oil painting from one of his favorite Colorado landscape artists and a personal video-greeting from John Wooden, retired UCLA men’s basketball coach.

But he remembers the announcement of the scholarship as his proudest moment of the celebration. “I had expected participation in the scholarship, since they all knew about this fund, but I never expected this,” said Barnes. “My parents loved Luther and their hometown of Reinbeck, Iowa.”

Retiring at age 55 had long been one of Barnes’s goals. Beginning work as a stockbroker in 1976, in 1987 he became regional vice president for American Funds, a mutual fund company that is part of Capital Group Companies. Barnes eventually became senior vice president, dealer relations manager, and shareholder of the privately held Capital Group, working in that role until his retirement.

Capital Group has a long history of philanthropic interest and support, and one of its traditions of “giving back” occurs when an employee retires. Upon his retirement, Barnes was asked to consider a charity that his fellow associates might contribute to in his honor. After consulting with Keith Christensen, Luther vice president for development, Barnes determined that any contributions made by colleagues would be directed to his alma mater to fund an endowed scholarship in memory of his parents and for Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School graduates with financial need.

Christensen said the Barnes Memorial Scholarship is an important part of Luther College’s initiative to build endowment for scholarships. Luther has set a goal to secure 150 new outright and 150 planned-gift-funded scholarships prior to the celebration of its sesquicentennial year in 2011.

Donors interested in supporting higher education opportunities for young people in their communities can get information about establishing or contributing to a scholarship by contacting the Luther College Development Office, telephone 800-225-8664, or email [email protected]

Steve Barnes