Gillett Society Donor Spotlight: Les & Jackie (Ott) Stiner
What are your hobbies?
Les: Our whole life at this point-we're retired-is a hobby. I consider our work at Grand Valley, in helping to develop students and helping them to achieve the best they can, a hobby.
Jackie: We're also active in restoring and showing Jaguar cars. Les and I were both Jaguar Affiliates Group of Michigan's most active members for three different years, and he was elected Vice President of the Jaguar Associates of Michigan. I used to show my 1992 Jaguar Vanden Plas Saloon for eight years and won the class each year with 99 points and above.
What are your favorite books?
Les: I have a favorite author, who is Mark Twain, and he's written at least 15 books and I've read them all. He was an American genius.
Jackie: Well, I like various children's books. Words on Kindness is a nice one.
Les: I also authored a children's book called, My name is Barclay, which is about our Scottish terrier.
What is your favorite quote?
Les: I have a lot, and I can't say one is more my favorite than another, but this one is really good. And it relates to our current fellowship that we're trying to help further. It's by Mark Twain. "It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
Who inspires you the most?
Les: Jackie's father, (Arnold C. Ott) is an inspiration to us, as well as Bill Seidman, and Don Lubbers.
Jackie: Also, Tom Haas and his wife Marcia. Tom has been at Grand Valley for over ten years, and he is carrying on the tradition of excellence. Both Tom and Marcia have inspired us to be involved and to give back. There are top notch people at Grand Valley.
What inspired you to start your fellowship in scientific skeptical reasoning and logic?
Les and Jackie: We believe that some knowledge is recycled, regenerated, and generally accepted as fact, when it may be fundamentally inaccurate or false. It is our belief that the scientific method and a positivist approach to research are critical to civilization and facilitates its progressive development, and the goal of the fellowship is to achieve this end.
You also set up a planned gift to add to this endowed fund. What do you hope your future gifts will bring to Grand Valley and the community?
Les: An endowment is something that will go on for a long period of time, maybe forever. My wife Jackie and I, have been blessed to be able to manage our financial resources which enables us to help others who need a helping hand. Our goal, and the mission for the rest of our lives, is to pay back society for all of the help and success we have enjoyed in our lives, and to help in philanthropic causes.
Why would you encourage other people to give to Grand Valley?
Jackie: We've given back to Grand Valley for years. Both of my parents were always helping people along the way. That's where our roots come from, and the idea that you should always try to help people less fortunate than you.
Les: We feel that it's important to invest in our society's future, as well as the future of the university and its students.