For Bob and Susan Zimlich, deciding to name Bellarmine
University in their estate plans was a natural next step – after
all, Bellarmine has been a part of their lives for years.
Bob Zimlich, in particular, has built both a career and a
life on campus – first as a student, and then as an employee.
He earned his bachelor of arts in accounting at Bellarmine
in 1981 and his MBA in 1987. He worked for a certified
public accounting firm in town for about six months while
finishing up his studies – but it wouldn’t be long before he
returned to the university.
“I had decided I didn’t really want to go into public accounting.
I was just starting to look around for a different
job when Jack called and said, ‘We have a new position opening up; would you be interested
in coming in for an interview?’”
“Jack” was John O. Kampschaefer Jr., a member of the Pioneer Class at Bellarmine who
served as the chief financial officer for the college under all three Bellarmine presidents. Bob
Zimlich came to work for him as assistant to the vice president of financial affairs. When
Jack Kampschaefer retired in 1997, “he was pleased to leave his desk and position in the
capable hands of Robert Zimlich, a man he had groomed to fill his shoes,” Wade Hall writes
in High Upon a Hill, a history of Bellarmine. After several months as acting vice president,
Bob Zimlich was officially given the title, and has held it ever since.
In the intervening years, he has overseen the business of the university, from the tremendous
growth in campus facilities to growth in the financial strength of the university’s
assets. And he and his wife have benefited from the university’s policy of providing college
tuition for employees’ children. Daughter Ginny is carrying on the Bellarmine legacy as
a junior exercise science major and soccer player. A second child attended a university in
Bellarmine’s consortium through tuition exchange, and the third, a senior at Presentation
Academy, is making her college decision. The fourth is currently a freshman in high school.
The Zimlichs wanted to provide other students with the opportunity to get a great college
education. So about 10 years ago, he and Susan established a scholarship fund, adding
money each year. They will continue to do so while he’s working, but their decision to name
the scholarship in their estate plans guarantees that it will be fully endowed one day and that
scholarships will be granted in perpetuity.
The Bob and Susan Zimlich Endowed Accounting Scholarship Fund will support students
majoring in accounting who can’t afford to attend Bellarmine. “Most of our scholarships are
merit-based; we don’t give a lot of need-based scholarships,” he said. “I really want to make
it a need-based scholarship for an accounting major.”
Bob and Susan are happy to give back to the place where Bob got his start – and his career.
“Bellarmine has been a great place to be all these years,” he says. But looking ahead, he says
that if his youngest daughter attends Bellarmine, “when she graduates, I’ll be old enough to
hopefully graduate right with her!”