Grateful Alum Leaves a Legacy
Mrs. Betty Ponder Debban, is a 1948 music education graduate with a major in piano, a minor in voice and organ, and two teaching minors in English and history. Both of Betty's parents had an eighth-grade education and were thrilled that Betty was graduating from high school. It was one of Betty's high school teachers, Delinda Rogensock, who encouraged Betty to go to college. While Betty was the salutatorian of her high school class, it was two music scholarships that allowed her to attend Drake University. One scholarship was awarded for her to play timpani in the orchestra while the other was for piano.
Betty met her future husband, Charles Debban, at Drake. Charles obtained his Master of Science degree in education. Upon graduation they were married and began their teaching careers in various school districts in Iowa. At that time many school districts would not hire both a husband and wife, and a number would not hire a married woman. In 1953 they moved to Cedar Rapids where these restrictions had been lifted. There, the Debbans continued their teaching careers and remained in the area to raise their two sons.
Betty spent her entire career as an educator, working in a variety of capacities for McKinley School, Coe College, Cedar Rapids School District and Grantwood Area Education Agency to name a few (her impressive curriculum vitae is several pages long). Betty spent tireless hours not only teaching students and teachers, but also developing a program to introduce students to opera. This program encourages teamwork and pulls together faculty and students from several different departments for a common goal.
At 81 years of age Betty continues to be very active with traveling, serving as organist for Christ Episcopal Church, part-time pianist at Von Maur department store, treasurer of the Guild of Organists, vice president of the Beethoven Club and spending time with her family, including two grandchildren and a new great granddaughter.
Betty Ponder Debban has notified the Office of Planned Giving that she had included Drake University in her will establishing a scholarship for a Drake student majoring in music education. She realizes that the cost of an education can be prohibitive and a scholarship can help someone attend Drake who may not have otherwise been able to. Betty is very grateful for the scholarships she received. These scholarships along with two jobs she worked while in school, allowed her to receive her education from Drake University. "I would hope that a lot of people... would put their school into their will, because you don't need to leave everything to your grandchildren or your children. They should make some of their own way. It would be a way of giving back."
You can contact John Amato at 515-271-2849 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can create a legacy of support for Drake.