Why I Give: Bill Landis ’78
On the cusp of our Centennial Year, the Office of Institutional Advancement reached out to a handful of donors to learn their thoughts on this milestone and hear why they choose to support IMS. Here is our conversation with former trustee Bill Landis ’78
IMS: Why do you give to IMS?
BL: I think giving is a very personal thing. If you’re an alum, as I am, I think you need to reflect on the arc of your life and where Indian Mountain fits in. For me, it was a very fundamental building block. I’m fond of telling my kids (and anybody who asks me about IMS) that I learned basically everything I needed to know in life between fifth and ninth grade at Indian Mountain School. The academic foundation, the socialization, the emphasis on empathy, and all of the experiences with sports and the outdoor adventure programs––it was a tremendous combination of different components that made it a very, very special place. That’s why I’m so passionate about it.
Also, some of the best teachers I had throughout my entire academic career were at Indian Mountain. Those early years in education require a certain type of character––capable, caring, tremendously dedicated––to inspire and motivate children to learn. And I think IMS did, and continues to do, a great job with finding that type of teacher.
IMS: Your family established the Miriam Manning Landis Scholarship Fund in your late mother’s name. Can you explain why your generosity toward the school took that specific form?
BL: Well, there was a time when our family couldn’t pay full freight, and the school helped us out for a couple of years. I’ve always felt indebted to the institution for that, and I wanted to make sure that we could pay it forward. So our family’s goal was very simple: ensure that there are day students who have the ability to attend Indian Mountain, whether they have the means or not. That’s the whole purpose of our giving.
My mother was a huge proponent of education, generally, and the school, in particular. She was just full of energy and enthusiasm for the place. Mom was a Parents Weekend and Grandparents Day participant; I used to watch her play in the mother-daughter field hockey game with my sister (Mimi Babcock P’03,’05,’09), and it was just wonderful to see. And I can’t think of a better way to remember her, to have her legacy live on, than to do something locally, right here, in the area where she spent sixty years of her life.
IMS: You’ve had a connection with the school for nearly half of its history; what comes to mind when you reflect on this year’s Centennial?
BL: Well, I hope for another hundred years even more successful than the first! The reason why we invest in the school is to make sure that it can continue to do the great work it’s been doing. So I think it’s fabulous that it’s been here for a hundred years, and I think it’s even more exciting that it will be around for another hundred, if we all do our part.