As an aspiring secondary education history teacher during his senior year at Wheaton College, Dave Teune ’74 received a last-minute reassignment. Originally scheduled to be a student teacher at Wheaton Central High School, he was instead put in charge of a class of seventh-graders at Monroe Middle School.
“I like to say it was seventh grade that sent me straight to law school,” says Dave, who quickly became disillusioned when he discovered that most of the 12-year-olds under his tutelage didn’t share his passion for knowledge.
So Dave decided to change career paths. He took the Law School Admission Test and went on to study law the following fall. Dave graduated with a J.D. from Chicago’s John Marshall Law School in 1977 and earned his LL.M. in taxation from I.I.T. Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2008.
After practicing law in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois, for five years, Dave returned to Wheaton College in 1982 as planned giving counsel. Though he describes himself and his Wheaton friends as “a cynical bunch, like many other college students in the early seventies,” he says. “It was the ethos of Wheaton—the intellectual, Christian environment—that made it an attractive place to return to.”
In 1983, he transitioned to the College’s Investment and Trust Department as associate investment manager. He became investment manager in 1984 and served as legal counsel from 1992 to 1994. In
1994, Dave returned to the fundraising arena as director of Wheaton’s Gift Planning Services. In 2000, he also assumed the roles of director, general counsel, and secretary for the Wheaton College Trust Company.
As director of Gift Planning Services since 1994, Dave has been instrumental in expanding Wheaton’s historically robust planned giving program, serving in both administrative and fundraising capacities. He has proven to be a highly regarded resource to donors, administrators, and fundraising staff with a singular gift for creatively coaching them through complex gift and estate planning strategies.
Law has indeed proven to be a good fit for Dave. Lenore Callahan, who serves as office coordinator in Gift Planning Services and has worked with Dave since 1997, says he seems content when ensconced in his office, surrounded by piles of law books.
Over the years, Dave has appreciated the opportunity to see Wheaton’s commitment to furthering Christ’s Kingdom lived out through the lives of students, alumni, parents, and friends.
He feels privileged, for example, to have witnessed Wheaton’s mission at work within the life of his own daughter, Molly Teune Denton ’09.
“I could see the growth in my daughter’s faith and intellectual development,” he says. “I could appreciate the incredible young women around her, who will be her lifelong friends—young women whose faith puts mine to shame.”
Similarly, Dave enjoys interacting with Wheaton alumni and friends.
“Contact with our donors really refreshes me,” he says. “They’re interested in the same things I’m interested in—integrating faith and learning, being a witness for Christ. It’s very inspiring.”
Recently, for example, he met with a California couple who, after discussing supporting Wheaton via the eventual sale of their rental building, spent an equal amount of time in animated dialogue about ways to apply Christian apologetics to contemporary culture.
This kind of interaction has encouraged Dave in his work at Wheaton. It has also helped him get through times of personal struggle when he found himself questioning his place at the College or his effectiveness in his role. “The freshness of these relationships has helped reignite my enthusiasm at low points,” he says.
Dr. R. Mark Dillon, vice president for advancement and alumni relations, has worked with Dave since arriving at Wheaton in 1994. He appreciates—and knows that Wheaton’s donors also appreciate— Dave’s uncompromising integrity and commitment to excellence.
“Fundamentally, those who want to give to Wheaton know that Dave is looking out for their best interests,” says Mark. “They have a deep level of trust in his knowledge base and integrity.”
Lenore Callahan agrees. “Dave always works hard to find the best option for the individual. He is never willing to separate the gift from the giver,” she says.
Trustworthy, knowledgeable, and humble—these are a few of the words that colleagues and donors consistently use to describe Dave.
“Dave’s humble spirit is apparent to all who have worked with him,” says Dr. David Johnston ’65, who worked at Wheaton from 1977 to 2009, most recently as senior vice president for finance. “He has worked mostly behind the scenes, where he has not sought personal recognition for his significant accomplishments.”
Brian Oxley ’73, M.A. ’75, an entrepreneur, businessman, and Wheaton donor since 1997, says Dave isn’t the stereotypical lawyer. “He is patient, understanding, humble. He’s a great sounding board who always listens. And that’s remarkable, because I think I’ve given him more Wheaton College lectures than any professor there.”
Like Brian, Dr. Barrett Anderson ’50, an orthodontist who has sought out Dave’s assistance with a number of complex sales and charitable trust donations over the years, appreciates Dave’s competence and personable approach.
“Dave is very bright, very trustworthy,” says Barrett. “Over the past 15 years, my wife, Regis, and I have felt we were working in total harmony and trust with him; we have felt like we’ve had major-league-level advice at every point. Wheaton has a gem in Dave Teune. Clearly, his work for Wheaton is his ministry for the Lord.”
An instrument of Christian ministry, Dave’s work has even served as a vehicle of matrimony.
In 1979, Lenore Callahan’s mother, Ruth Carlson, employed Dave via a local law firm after her husband’s death that year. She liked him so much that she engineered a plan to introduce Dave to Mary Wilterdink, a fellow choir member.
Ruth convinced Mary, who lived in the same apartment complex as Dave, to deliver him a plate of homemade cookies. Dave jokes that Mary brought the cookies by on Christmas Eve, hoping that he wouldn’t be home. But he was indeed home, and the two were married in 1982. In addition to Molly ’09, they are parents to an adult son, Jonathan.
As for Dave’s career at Wheaton, his three-decades-long investment promises to leave a lasting legacy.
“Dave has a strong sense of Wheaton’s key place in today’s culture,” says Mark Dillon. “He thinks holistically about the mission of Wheaton College. Because of his diligence and care for hundreds of alumni and others, Dave’s impact will be felt at Wheaton College for many years to come.”