Albion Interactive History / People / Paul Ungrodt

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People / Albion College

Paul W. “Skip” Ungrodt, Jr.


Albion College Graduate
Class of 1952

Albion College Trustee,Benefactor, Friend ‘Skip’Ungrodt Mourned

Posted Monday, January 13, 2003

ALBION, Mich. – Albion College Trustee andlongtime College benefactor Paul W. “Skip”Ungrodt, Jr., ’52, died Sunday in Ann Arborafter a prolonged illness. He was 72. Amember of the College’s board of trusteessince 1985, Ungrodt was chairman andpresident of Ideation, Inc., a national giftsupply firm based in Ann Arbor, and ownerof several gift stores.”With the passing of Skip Ungrodt, animportant era at Albion College has ended,”said Ben Hancock, Albion College vicepresident for Institutional Advancement.

“For more than 20 years he was the College’s number one advocate and fan-whether itwas a fund drive for the latest project, an internship for a student, or a word ofencouragement for a prospective student to attend Albion. His legacy will live on throughthe student athletes who will benefit from the new facilities he helped build or the dozensof Gerstacker Institute students he mentored.

“Personally, I have lost a great friend who set the very highest standard of what it meantto be a true Briton. The Albion College advancement program is what it is today,because of his leadership and support for our successful fund drives, alumni programs,and communications.”

Since graduating from Albion in 1952 with a degree in sociology and businessadministration, Ungrodt [pictured above at Albion College’s indoor tennis facilitynamed in his honor] had been one of the College’s greatest cheerleaders andphilanthropists. A strong proponent of Briton athletics, Ungrodt chaired the $1.3 millionBriton Athletic Drive and funded the indoor tennis center, which was named in his honor.He also was the architect of the brick walkway near the Dow Recreation and WellnessCenter.

Ungrodt was a major contributor to the Kellogg Center and Ferguson Building on Albion’scampus. Longtime chairman of the College’s Institutional Advancement Committee andmember of the Executive Committee, Ungrodt underwrote the Ferguson Building’s thirdfloor-known affectionately as “Skip’s Floor”-which houses Institutional Advancement.Ungrodt was born May 19, 1930 in Ypsilanti, Mich. As a student at Albion, Ungrodt wasa letter-winner and four-year participant in tennis. He also was a member of the AlphaTau Omega fraternity.

At a special Hall of Fame dinner September 27 during Homecoming 2002, Ungrodt-who was inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame five years ago-was honoredwith the Albion College Lifetime Achievement Award.”Skip was simply remarkable in his devotion to his alma mater,” said Albion CollegePresident Peter Mitchell. “He had more enthusiasm and conviction than anyone I know,and everyone he knew had great affection for Skip. Albion the institution will miss him,and I’ll miss him as a great friend.”

“He was the eternal optimist. You couldn’t say no to him-and he never said ‘no’ toAlbion. We’ve all lost a kind, thoughtful, caring person who simply wanted people toenjoy life as he did. He was the consummate friend, buddy, pal-and he embodied thebest virtues of friendship: truth and loyalty and goodness.”

A community leader and patron of state and local humanitarian and culturalorganizations, Ungrodt recently received the Chuck Yancy Lifetime Achievement Awardfrom the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Ungrodt was appointed by Gov. JohnEngler to the Michigan Travel Commission and he spearheaded the successfulmultimillion-dollar capital campaign for the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, Mich. At thetime of his death, Ungrodt also served on the boards of the Ann Arbor Convention andVisitor’s Bureau, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, and as chairman ofthe Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Collection.

He was past president of the Gift Association of America and the Michigan GiftAssociation, as well as the State Street Business Association and the WashburnHistorical Museum, Inc., in Washburn, Wisc. He served on the boards of the Ann ArborChamber of Commerce, the Ann Arbor United Way, the Chicago Gift Show, the MichiganRetailers Association, the Bank of Ann Arbor, and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in AnnArbor.

In addition to Ideation, which he founded in 1968 and which now supplies 650 gift storesacross the country, Ungrodt co-owned with his brothers the hardware store in Washburn,Wisc., founded by his grandfather.

Ungrodt was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte Darvay Ungrodt, ’52, in 1990.Survivors include three children: Thomas Ungrodt, his wife, Diane, and their 2 children;Susan Mills, her husband Jim, and their three children; and Sara Eichhorn, her husband,Jeff, and their two children. Also surviving are brothers Robert, of Washburn, Wisc., andBernard, of Costa Mesa, Calif. Granddaughter Allison Mills is a sophomore and soccerplayer at Albion College.

Source: Albion College Office of Communications, Press Release, 2003.

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