Gift promotes alcohol and addiction awareness
By all accounts, Bill Lammers '70 was the all-American success story—a strong student, natural leader, model Naval officer, successful professional and an ideal family man.
Lurking in the shadows, though, were a troubled childhood, a lifetime of insecurities and a destructive quest to fill an unfillable void. The secrets of his addictions, including alcoholism, the "family disease," eventually spilled out, shattering his picture-perfect life in full public view.
At 52 years old, he hit rock bottom, checking into a Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center and beginning the process of learning how to live.
"Author Joseph Campbell once said, 'The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are,'" Lammers says. "In my recovery from addiction, starting 15 years ago, I am becoming, one day at a time, the person I was meant to be."
Now reconciled with his family and a member of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's board of trustees, Lammers is a passionate advocate in the effort to educate and help others in a national fight against addiction and other forms of alcohol and drug misuse.
Lammers' dedication to the cause also has inspired a groundbreaking and meaningful gift to Miami University. Through a recently announced gift in his will, Lammers has created the William J. Lammers Educational Fund for Alcohol and Other Addictions, which focuses on education and programming involving both students and their families.
While Lammers is committed to supporting the fund annually, he also wanted to ensure it would continue providing meaningful support beyond his lifetime. By naming the Miami University Foundation as one of the beneficiaries of his retirement plan, he is able to continue using the plan for his own income needs while also ensuring its continued growth. When he no longer needs that income, a percentage of the plan will formally endow the fund at Miami.
"In talking with parents of college students, no other issue comes close as a threat to the hopes and ambitions they have for their children," Lammers says. "There are way too many deaths and serious injuries from alcohol poisoning on college campuses. In working with Miami's gifted leaders, I felt I could make a difference in this unique way."
Lammers' gift also comes out of appreciation for his time at Miami, where he earned both a bachelor's in accountancy and an MBA. He credits his experience at Miami for offering him new life perspectives, teaching him the value of diligent work and instilling the importance of critical and creative thinking. He considers his past and future investments in Miami a privilege and hopes others will recognize the opportunity.
"As one of my mentors says, 'We must give not until it hurts but, rather, give until it feels good,'" Lammers says. "My financial support comes out of a profound sense of gratitude for my Miami Experience. It also comes out of the hope that other alumni and parents will recognize an opportunity to join in this effort to protect our students from the misuse of alcohol and drugs."
Follow in Bill Lammers' footsteps and give a gift to Miami University that makes you feel good. Contact Jayne Whitehead, H.A. '06, J.D. at 513-529-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss option that fit your unique circumstances.