Larry Vodra '61 and Nancy Morning Vodra '63
Larry Vodra jokes that he's the only person he knows who travelled farther to high school than he did to college. A self-described "townie" whose father worked for Rubbermaid, Larry grew up just north of Wooster's campus, on Gasche Street. To Larry's parents, paying room and board seemed like a needless luxury, so home was where he lived for his first three years at the College. It was only in his senior year that he moved on campus, joining his fellow members of First Section in Kenarden.
Nancy's journey was a bit longer. She was from Kansas City and wanted to find a Presbyterian college "that was smaller than my high school." A psychology major, she says Wooster was a place where you "worked hard, studied hard, and had close to zero time left over" for extracurricular activities, beyond the clubs associated with one's academic major. Nancy also worked as an admissions guide and conducted research in the psychology department.
Larry was just as busy, between classes (geology was his major) and two jobs: as photographer for The Daily Record and sportswriter for the Wooster Alumni Bulletin. During senior year, his path and Nancy's crossed and they began dating. Two years later, after she graduated, they married.
By then, Larry had been commissioned as a naval aviator and Nancy joined him in Hawaii where he was stationed, flying P2V Neptune long-range reconnaissance planes. In 1967, Larry left active duty and joined TWA, for whom he would fly across the country and around the world for the next 30 years.
After bouncing around during their first six years of marriage-Hawaii to Japan, back to Hawaii, California to Kansas City to Long Island, the Vodras settled down in Connecticut in 1969. They raised two children and Nancy found work she loved as the Christian education coordinator for their church in Brookfield, where they remain happily ensconced today.
Larry has served as class secretary for years, staying in touch with and faithfully chronicling the lives and times of his fellow members of the Class of 1961. And as he became involved in planning for their 50th reunion, he and Nancy began to think about what they could do to give back to a place that has meant so much to them.
"We were blessed to have had a Wooster education and now we are in a position to help others have the same opportunity," Nancy says.
Larry was drawn to the idea of setting up an endowed fund, "something that would go on year after year." And he found that, thanks to diligent saving and appreciation in their retirement accounts, he and Nancy could endow two scholarships to help future generations of Wooster students, gifts that will count toward both their 50th anniversary funds.
"A lot of people don't realize there are different thresholds, different opportunities that exist for endowment," Larry notes. "It's not just for those who can make million-dollar gifts."
"And what better way to celebrate your 50th reunion," Nancy adds, "than to help others come to Wooster!"