‘My Contribution to the World’

Jan Kilar ’03 and her husband Dennis have always been generous. They have given to various causes over the years, but during the COVID pandemic, they re-evaluated their priorities. 

“We asked ourselves, ‘Where is our money going to do the most amount of good, giving other people the opportunities that were given to us?’” she said. “Notre Dame rose to the top for me because of the experiences that I had there. Giving other people the opportunities that were afforded to us became very important.” 

When Jan returned to school for a bachelor’s degree in business, she was married and working a job that required a lot of travel. Notre Dame’s Weekend College format worked well because she could take her classes and study in her spare time. She started with one class and liked it so much that she continued taking one class per semester until she completed her degree. 

“It broadened me as a person because it took me out of my workaday world and exposed me to adults from other industries. You got the feeling that the instructors embraced what you were trying to do,” she said.  “I met three other women there who were pretty much in the same boat – they were finishing their education. I became good friends with them and in fact, I still see them today. That’s what I love about Notre Dame.” 

For Jan and her husband, making a lasting investment meant helping young women realize their dreams with an opportunity to get a great education infused with Notre Dame’s core values. The scholarship they established ensures eligibility to Women’s College students for up to four years. They also joined the Montrose Society to leave a legacy gift to NDMU.

“That is my contribution to the world. For us, the students are our future,” she said. “If we could give them the opportunity to have the same experience that I had, then hopefully, we can make a difference.”