The Zelle Society
The Zelle Society is named for Robert K. Zelle, who died in June of 2010.
Bob Zelle was a philanthropist with a special interest in education. In the early 1980's, when Harvey Sperling was USN's director, Mr. Zelle found that University School reminded him in many ways of his alma mater, the John Burroughs School in St. Louis. In 1985 he joined the USN Board of Trustees, serving for twelve pivotal years of the school's growth and development.
When he retired from National Life and Casualty in 1970, he turned his attention to investment and philanthropy. He served on the boards of Darlington School, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University School of Nashville and Alive Hospice. He was one of the founders of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. In 1980, he founded Reel Broadcasting Company and WZTV- Channel 17, Nashville's first independent television station.
In 1989, Bob Zelle established a charitable remainder unitrust, naming USN as a beneficiary. This testamentary gift was the largest of its kind in the history of the school. In honor of exceptional philanthropic leadership, the USN Board of Trustees established the Robert K. Zelle Society, a donor recognition society. The Society was announced in 1997, and Bob was honored at the October 1997 board meeting with a formal resolution.
University School of Nashville benefited from Bob's wisdom. From his time on our Board of Trustees (1985 - 1997) through 2010, he supported and advised our school's Directors (Harvey Sperling, Ed Costello, and Vince Durnan). Each found his leadership and counsel invaluable.
"I believe very much in secondary school education, and University School is worthy of my support. I know of no other school where parents and students alike appreciate and enjoy the learning that goes on here."
The Zelle Society membership recognizes friends of the school who have made a provision for USN in their estate plans. Today, the Zelle Society includes estate planning vehicles from a growing group of trustees, alumni, parents, grandparents, and faculty. And University School remains grateful to its namesake, Robert K. Zelle.