Jeff and Lisa Sommer P’15
Parents Supporting Men’s Soccer and the Springfield College Fund
“So, what do you think?” Lisa Sommer asked her husband Jeff as they were driving home after a tour of Springfield College.Their high school student son Drew had just interviewed with Peter Haley, who was men’s soccer head coach. Jeff replied, “If I’m going to entrust my son to someone, it’s going to be that man.”
The Sommers’ experience with Haley, the men’s soccer program, and Springfield College “turned out to be even more than I expected,” says Jeff. “Drew had been looking for a college with a balanced value of athletics and academics, and also where he would be part of a group of young men who were good people in all connotations of the words. Clearly, he found that here. There’s an underlying ethos —a caring for others in the college community and beyond—that is well demonstrated and lived by Springfield College people, including his current coach Steffen Siebert,” he adds.
Drew has long wanted to become a physical education teacher and coach. “When our kids were younger, rather than ask ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’—and get the blank response typical of most kids —we said, ‘think of a person whom you’d like to be like.’ Drew would always name his physical education teacher and soccer coach. His twin Alex and older brother Matt would name their mother or grandfather, who are engineers, and that’s the field that they’ve pursued,” Jeff says.
“The College’s support for Drew’s athletics is nothing short of outstanding,” says Jeff, who also describes the quality of Drew’s academic program as very high. “I’m involved in the world of soccer, and people tell me they are amazed by Drew’s growth as a player, teacher, and coach. He gets his own summer jobs because of his qualifications. We could not have created a better place for Drew,” he says.
When Haley retired, Jeff wanted to let him and the College know of his respect for the coach, so he made a financial gift in Haley’s honor. He and Lisa have continued to contribute to men’s soccer and the athletics program at the President’s Council level. “If our gift supports the athletics programs that most benefit Drew, then the College can use other donations that it receives for [need-based] scholarships,” Jeff reasons.
Jeff and Lisa are active Springfield College parents while managing demanding careers. She is a chemical engineer at DuPont. He has recently been elected Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Chester County, Pa., after having been a partner in the law firm of Buckley, Brion, McGuire, Morris & Sommer LLP. They are members of the Family Advisory Council, which aims to involve more parents in feedback, philanthropy, programs, and service. Recently, Jeff was a speaker during Family Weekend, where he discussed philanthropy for Springfield College.
“When you’re making decisions about the places to put your discretionary contributions, what separates Springfield College from other worthy causes?” he asked the audience. Using the acronym PeG, he continued. “P is for passion. This college is passionate about its mission of developing the spirit, mind, and body and service to others. e is for energy. It has drive, vitality, and excitement to put its mission to work. Passion without energy is like a chicken running around ineffectively with no head. G is for the generosity gene. That’s a deep craving to help others grow and succeed— the students, the College community, and the greater community. It’s instilled in Springfield College. That’s a PeG that I can hang my hat on as a reason to give to this College,” says the committed parent.