Manchester University / Alumni / @manchester Newsletter April 2022 / Others lifted him when he was a student, and now Kevin Hochstedler ’83 lifts future generations

Others lifted him when he was a student, and now Kevin Hochstedler ’83 lifts future generations

Kevin-and-Rita-Hochstedler
Kevin and Rita Hochstedler have designated a $3.7 million bequest to benefit accounting majors. The couple also provided an office in the Lockie and Augustus Chinworth Center through the Students First! campaign, and they are supporting a future project to promote physical fitness.

Kevin Hochstedler ’83 traces much of his professional success back to his Manchester roots. Now the accounting graduate is paying his gratitude forward with gifts that will benefit MU students for generations to come.

Hochstedler and his spouse, Rita, have designated a $3.7 million bequest to the University in a combination of unrestricted funds and an endowed scholarship fund to benefit accounting majors. The couple also provided an office in the Lockie and Augustus Chinworth Center through the Students First! campaign, and they are supporting a future project to promote physical fitness.

Years ago, Hochstedler was attending a different college when he heard that “a friend of a friend was having a really good experience at Manchester with accounting.” Hochstedler was interested in accounting, too, so he transferred in time for the second semester of his sophomore year.

“It was a warm environment and very accepting,” recalls Hochstedler, who grew up near Wakarusa, Ind. “I felt like there was support all around me, including in the accounting program and throughout the school. It was a great fit with strong academic programs and the individual attention to help with my development as a student and a person.”

Faculty members Art Gilbert, William Day and John Bales led the accounting program at the time and set the standard. “I felt like they were a complementary team of professors and the program was just outstanding,” says Hochstedler. “I was challenged academically but, at the same time, they were very supportive.”

Support also came from Manchester alumni who were already achieving success in the business world. They came to campus and talked to students like Hochstedler about the accounting profession, what to expect and how to succeed. “That really helped someone like me who had no business background,” he said. “It was all new to me.”

His education wasn’t limited to business. While Hochstedler says he didn’t understand the value of the liberal arts as a student, it did reveal itself as he advanced in his career. “I saw the importance of critical thinking skills,” he explains, “and the ability to understand and respect people with different backgrounds and beliefs.” The liberal arts teach you to be a lifelong learner, he adds. “It’s about developing into the best person you can be. I felt like Manchester did, and still does, a wonderful job of that.”

A CPA, Hochstedler started his career in public accounting, where he met Rita, who is also a CPA. He spent most of his career as the chief financial officer (CFO) for several manufacturing companies that specialized in building products. Now, as he approaches retirement, he is doing some consulting work including service to not-for-profit entities.

The Hochstedlers live in Mishawaka and Rita continues to work at the South Bend office of Kruggel Lawton CPAs. The couple’s daughter, Kimberly, is a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, studying statistics with a concentration in health research.

Though Rita attended Indiana State University (both Hochstedlers earned MBAs from Indiana University), Kevin says she is a “big supporter” of Manchester. Her sister, Amy Taylor Carlton, is a former director of news and sports information at MU and is now the commissioner of the American Southwest Conference.

Rita “has been really impressed by what goes on at Manchester,” says Kevin. Their shared passion for physical fitness inspired their recent gift for a fitness facility at MU because they recognize the relationship between physical activity, mental health and stress reduction. “When you’re in college, there’s a lot of stress,” says Kevin, who was an avid intramural participant as a student. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to have facilities right there to help students relieve that stress and, hopefully, help them through their journey at Manchester.”

As a past member of the Alumni Board and current member of the Board of Trustees, Hochstedler pays close attention to that journey. “Anytime I get to visit campus, I feel this energy,” he says. “Then you hear these students’ stories, their plans and how hard they’re working.  It inspires us to support higher education.  But then Manchester’s version of that is just something to behold. I’m just really impressed with them.”