Honoring the Legacy of Education and Leadership: Maud Tachell Sagle, Eta Beta

In the early 1900s, not many women were afforded the opportunity to attend college. Maud Tachell, a coed at the University of Washington, was determined to make the most of it. She believed that an education would be a springboard into the life that she desired: to teach music and travel. While at Washington, she studied fine arts and was a founding member of the Eta Beta Chapter of Phi Mu.

After graduating, Maud became a public-school music teacher and glee club director. She remained determined to see the world so she moved to Hawai’i, where she later met her husband, Arthur Sagle. She and Arthur had one son, Arthur, Jr., or “Art,” who was born in Hawai’i. When Art was eight, the family moved back to the mainland so they could be near family in Washington.

Growing up, Art listened fondly to his mother’s stories of her time at UW and the treasured memories of her Phi Mu sisterhood. Maud was a proud member of the Eta Beta Luncheon Club and enjoyed catching up with fellow alumnae. Maud’s independent spirit was something that many of her sisters admired about her, and she shared that passion with her son. Art also attended the University of Washington where he earned his Ph.D. in mathematics. He and his wife Eleanor moved to Hawai’i in the 1970s. Maud joined them not long afterward and remained there until her death in 1984.

The memories of Maud’s connection with Phi Mu were never far from Art’s mind, and in 1998, he established the Maud Tachell Sagle Memorial Scholarship Fund through Phi Mu Foundation. Art set up this scholarship fund to help Phi Mus pursuing an education in music, mathematics or computer science, with each of those subjects reflecting the personal passions of Maud, Art, and his wife, Eleanor.

When Art passed away in 2018, his daughter Lauri reached out to Phi Mu Foundation with news from the estate. In an effort to keep the legacy of Maud Tachell Sagle alive in Phi Mu, Art had left more than $530,000 to Phi Mu Foundation in her memory. When the Foundation received this unrestricted gift from the Sagle Trust, Senior Director of Development Mandi Young, Alpha Epsilon (Florida State University), had the extraordinary opportunity to talk with Lauri about all of the ways the Foundation could use her family’s gift to impact the lives of Phi Mu women today.

“After learning more about the Sagle family from Lauri, I talked to her about all of the different ways we could make an indelible impact on the lives of Phi Mu women with this gift,” said Mandi. “Being the Director of Composition at the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo, Lauri understands the challenges facing today’s college women and how the sorority experience can help provide them the structured, personal support that is so important.”

Inspired by Maud’s passion for learning, Lauri is an educator at the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo, just as her father was prior to his passing. When the Foundation staff discussed the final recommendations for the Sagle Trust gift, it was clear that investing in education and leadership programs that empower Phi Mu women through learning was an incredible way to honor the strong foundation Maud had built for her family. The Foundation staff and the Board of Trustees balanced the investment of the undesignated trust in programs that were important to the Sagle family, along with the areas of greatest need for Phi Mu members.

Here is how the Sagle gift will impact Phi Mu:

$350,000 to invest in leadership programs like the Phi Mu Resource Hub and to establish the Sagle Family Leadership Endowment Fund

$117,800 to help sustain the growing needs of the Headquarters building and Foundation’s operations to further support our members

$66,300 to provide additional academic scholarships, including scholarships through the Maud Sagle Memorial Scholarship Fund

“The significant impact that will be felt across our organization from the Sagle Trust gift shows the power that lies in unrestricted giving,” said Executive Director Kristin Tofanelli, Kappa Mu (Georgia Southern University). “When we’re able to invest a gift in the areas of greatest need, it unlocks our true potential to help Phi Mu and its members when they need it the most.”

“Receiving the Maud Tachell Sagle Memorial Fund Scholarship through Phi Mu Foundation is helping me to achieve my goal of earning a Ph.D.! This is something I wouldn’t be able to do without the support of sisters, so it really means a lot to me. This scholarship is helping to lift some of the financial burdens and giving me more time to focus on my research interest in machine learning.”

Sarah Downs, Eta Sigma (University of California, Merced), Doctoral Candidate in Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Merced