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The Phi Sigma Kappa Association is pleased to announce the recent bequest of $160,195.88 from the Robert W. "Bear" Koehler estate to the Kappa Chapter's capital campaign, A Reason to be Proud. Brother Koehler had previously pledged an additional $25,000, making his total contribution over $ 185,000. The campaign is a $1.6 million fundraising effort to renovate the 82-year-old Phi Sigma Kappa house.

"We had indications that the bequest might exceed $100,000 but did not know the final figure until know," said Richard Doherty, president of The Phi Sigma Kappa Association. "This is an even bigger help than we had anticipated."

Phi Sigma Kappa recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation project, where Penn State University President Graham Spanier spoke. Dr. Spanier noted Koehler's long service to the University and to the fraternity.

"We were really pleased that President Spanier and the University have supported our efforts to revitalize our fraternity house," noted A Reason to be Proud Campaign Chairman Bill DeGrandis, who also is Vice President of the Phi Sigma Kappa Foundation. During the ceremony, Koehler's 45 years of service to Kappa Chapter was honored. "Bear has continued his tremendous support of Kappa Chapter through his bequest," noted DeGrandis.

Affectionately known as "Bear" to his fraternity brothers and friends, Koehler dedicated his life to the fraternity. He served as treasurer of The Phi Sigma Kappa Association from 1958 until he retired in 2006. For 45 years he served the Kappa Chapter as advisor, including three years when he was a PhD candidate at Michigan State University. He has attended most of the national fraternity's conclaves, leadership schools and conventions since his first one in 1958 in French Lick, Ind.

He died January 3, 2007 while vacationing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

In true "Bear" fashion, even in death he continues to make an impact on the fraternity. The estate gift puts the A Reason to be Proud capital campaign over the $1 million mark, making Koehler the "Million Dollar Man" that the campaign committee has been searching for. Koehler will be posthumously recognized as the Million Dollar Man on the Phi Sig Hall of Fame plaque that will hang in the renovated house.

"Bear was never one for a big fuss, so I suspect he would see this the same way," said Doherty. "However, I am sure he would be proud of the support he has been able to provide to his fraternity. He was greatly involved with the fraternity for some 50 years."

Koehler's bequest was finalized just weeks after the chapter's April 24 groundbreaking ceremony. The Phi Sigma Kappa Association volunteers hope that Koehler's gift will encourage more brothers to support the much-needed renovation project as they strive to reach the $1.6 million goal. To date, the campaign has received over $1.1 million in pledges and gifts.

"It is hoped that by his example, our other 900+ alumni will be motivated to support this huge worthwhile project," said Doherty. "Bear did his share and then some."

At Penn State, Koehler served as associate professor of accounting at the Smeal College of Business for more than 40 years. Throughout his career, he earned numerous honors and awards, and was named Accounting Alumnus of the Year by the Smeal College Department of Accounting in 2002.

Click here to follow Bear's example and make a pledge or contribution to the A Reason to be Proud capital campaign.

Read more about Bear in a 2006 profile.