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Marge and Chuck Durham: A Legacy of Giving and Involvement

Builders of Bellevue University: Across the Years and Generations

By Bill Wax

In celebration of Bellevue University’s 50th Anniversary, we take time to recognize individuals and organizations that have helped to build it into Nebraska’s largest private college or university. The late Marge and Chuck Durham and their daughter, Lynne Durham Boyer, personify strong qualities of leadership, involvement and support that made them Builders of Bellevue University.

Marge and Chuck Durham: A Legacy of Giving and Involvement

In 1985, when she became the first female to serve on Bellevue College’s Board of Directors, Margre H. “Marge” Durham and her husband, the late Charles “Chuck” Durham, already were well-established as regional leaders in civic involvement and philanthropy. Charles Durham was a principal in the Henningson, Durham and Richardson (now HDR, Inc.) architectural, engineering and consulting company. Throughout their married life, Chuck and Marge worked shoulder-to-shoulder and individually to make a success of their business, growing it from 15 employees into one of the largest firms of its type in the world.

[caption id="attachment_2114" width="300"]durham2 Charles and Marge Durham at the dedication of the University’s Durham Center in 1994.[/caption]

The Durhams also devoted time and substance to many other worthy endeavors. Today their name is displayed on numerous buildings and donor walls of non-profit organizations and educational and medical facilities in Nebraska, Iowa and beyond, including two buildings on Bellevue University’s main campus.

The Durhams funded the 1993 renovation of the former I.T.&T. warehouse that initially housed the entire college, which was then renamed the Durham Center. The building exterior received a major facelift and the interior was gutted, opened up and space completely reallocated to provide a one-stop shop for student support services. The project included the addition of executive offices with a bell tower with clock and carillon with Westminster Chimes funded by the Durhams. The Margre H. Durham Student Center, originally built in 1986, underwent a major remodeling in 2004 with the help of funding from the Durhams.

Marge Durham served more than a decade on the Bellevue College and Bellevue University Board of Directors and was an Emeritus director until 1999. In addition to the Durhams’ many philanthropic contributions over the years, both served on and led a range non-profit boards to benefit the community and causes they believed in. Marge received many accolades and awards for her decades of devoted service, including an honorary Doctoral degree from Bellevue College in 1992. Her longtime friend Eppie Lederer, better known as advice columnist Ann Landers, also received an honorary Doctorate and was the Commencement Speaker that year.

[caption id="attachment_2113" width="300"]durham-1 Lynne Boyer, right, with her father, Charles “Chuck” Durham inside Bellevue University’s Margre H. Durham Student Center.[/caption]

Chuck and Marge’s daughter, Lynne Durham Boyer, joined the Bellevue University Board of Directors in 2002 and serves on the Board’s Executive Committee. She and her husband, John, live in Omaha and are heavily involved in serving the community and society through volunteer commitments and support of numerous causes through the John K. and Lynne D. Boyer Foundation they established.