Dr. Donald B. Swegan 1926-2021
SEBRING — Dr. Donald B. Swegan, 95, former vice president for development at both Baldwin-Wallace University and Ashland University, and resident of Copeland Oaks in Sebring, passed away from natural causes Thursday, June 17, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Russell and Frances Swegan, as well as by his late wives, Elizabeth, who died in January of 2000 and was the mother of his three children, and Dawn, who died in November 2004.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Hammerton Swegan; two sons, Richard B. (Debra Dinnocenzo) of Wexford, Pa., and Gary D. (Sue) of Bowling Green; and one daughter, Ellen (Wayne) Stevenson of Russell’s Point. He is also survived by three stepchildren, Jerry (Diana) Hammerton of Alliance, Patricia Fall of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Rob (Kelly) of Myrtle Beach. S.C.; a sister, Carol Cross of Columbus; and a brother, Russell of North Myrtle Beach S.C. Also surviving are eight grandchildren, eight step-grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Don worked in the development field for the last 30 years of his career, including positions at both Baldwin-Wallace and Ashland Universities and as director of university development at the University of South Florida. Prior to that, he held the position of executive director of the Cleveland Commission on Higher Education and had previously served Baldwin Wallace in the roles of dean of student affairs, director of teacher education, and chairman of the Health and Physical Education Department.
In his early career, Don served as head basketball coach at Baldwin-Wallace, Muskingum University and West Chester (Pa.) University, and was assistant basketball coach at Penn State University from 1954-1959. Previously, he coached basketball at Mentor, Fredericktown and Mount Vernon high schools. In 2001-2002, at the age of 76, he was the girls’ basketball coach at Sebring High School.
Don earned his doctorate from Penn State University and held a master’s degree from Ohio State University. He attended both Baldwin-Wallace and Harvard University in the Navy V-12 program during World War II and graduated from the College of Wooster in 1947. He received a commission as an Ensign (USNR) while at Harvard.
Swegan earned 10 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball at Harvard, Wooster and Baldwin-Wallace, and captained one sport at each school. Representing Harvard, he played in the 1945-46 NCAA basketball tournament and was the starting shortstop for the East in the 1946 College East-West Baseball All-Star game played at Fenway Park.
Don was an elected member of the Wooster Athletic Hall of Fame, the Girard High School Hall of Fame and the Fredericktown High School Hall of Fame, the latter as coach of its 1948-49 championship team. He also received the Alumni Merit Award at Baldwin-Wallace in 2016.
During his 11 years of service at the University of South Florida, Don built a strong fundraising team and greatly increased the university’s private funding support. More than 35 $1 million endowed chairs were secured under his leadership.
More recently, he abandoned retirement to serve as campaign director for the Copeland Oaks $3.5 million campaign, which achieved a total of $4.2 million — the most successful campaign in the institution’s history.
During his academic years, Don published 25 professional articles in various journals, and from 2008-2017, he published two memoirs, “A Lifetime of Challenge and Change” and “Now for the Rest of the Story.” He also co-authored a book about Wooster’s basketball coaches, “Winners, On and Off the Court” and compiled the book, “Family-Style Humor and Wisdom.”
Swegan served on many community and civic boards during his career, including 15 years on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, Tampa FL unit. He was a member of the Salem First United Methodist Church and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He was also active in Kiwanis and served as President of the Alliance Kiwanis Club in 2004-2005.
A memorial service will be held at Salem First United Methodist Church, 244 S. Broadway, Salem, Saturday, June 26 at 11 a.m. Visitation with the family will be held at the church at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Oaks Foundation (c/o Copeland Oaks, 800 S. 15th St., Sebring, OH 44672); Salem First United Methodist Church (Box 463, Salem, OH 44460); or Aultman Hospice Care at Alliance (2461 W. State Street, Suite E, Alliance, OH 44601).