“Well done is better than well said.”
The famous quote from Benjamin Franklin is never far from the mind of Matt DesChamps ’93, a Franklin & Marshall Trustee and passionate supporter of his alma mater. Franklin’s words served as the motto for the late 1980s and early 1990s Diplomat football teams of which DesChamps was a member. The quote makes him think of legendary F&M football coach Tom Gilburg.
“Coach Gilburg personified our motto,” says Matt, who captained the 1992 team and now serves as chief operating officer of Kepos Capital, an investment adviser and asset management firm in New York City. “At team meals, Coach Gilburg would seek out and sit next to players who weren’t the stars or starters—the quieter players—and talk to them. He treated everybody the same way and wanted each player to reach their potential. That kindness and caring, looking out for underdogs, inspires me.”
DesChamps and his wife, Julie ’93, are doing their best to inspire future generations of F&M students. The seven-figure donors have supported a wide range of initiatives at the College, from financial aid to athletics and arts, and are champions of F&M’s comprehensive campaign, “Now to Next.” Gilburg’s mentorship is a big reason Matt helped lead the effort to fund Shadek Stadium and name the playing field after Coach Gilburg and other spaces after influential coaches who inspired many players through the years. The multipurpose facility opened in 2017 on F&M’s North Campus. The couple also helped fund the Susan and Benjamin Winter Visual Arts Center, which will open in 2020.
Matt and Julie met as first-year students on the third floor of Schnader North. Julie had broad-ranging interests as an undergraduate, from art history and architecture to geology and animal behavior. “Exposure to multiple fields in college fueled my life-long interest in the visual arts and sciences,” she says. “When I later joined the field of art conservation, that solid foundation served me well. Even today, the lessons of my professors inform my volunteer work as an environmental advocate and art docent.”
The couple hopes their continued support of the College will create similar opportunities for F&M students. “Our focus will always be on the students of F&M,” Matt says. “Access to higher education is one of the most important gifts you can give somebody.”