NWS Expresses Gratitude for A $75,000 Bequest by Bob and Nancy Giles

TRAVERSE CITY, MI — The National Writers Series today announced its largest single bequest, a gift from late NWS Board member Bob Giles and his wife, Dr. Nancy Giles.

“Bob and Nancy were exquisitely kind, intelligent, curious people, and their $75,000 bequest was a wonderful surprise for NWS,”  Anne Stanton, NWS executive director said. “It’s really humbling to have Bob and Nancy remember NWS in such a significant way.”

Bob was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Nancy was committed to literacy and mental health causes. Both were avid volunteers.

Bob was an internationally-known journalist who twice won the Pulitzer Prize, once as editor of the Akron Beacon Journal and again as editor and publisher of the Detroit News. He directed the Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. In recent years he served on the editorial board of the Traverse City Record Eagle.

In 2020, he published “When Truth Mattered,” a beat-by-beat account of the Kent State National Guard tragedy and its coverage by the Akron Beacon Journal. Bob, who oversaw the newspaper’s coverage, used it as an exemplar of objective and accurate news reporting, an essential component for an informed citizenry.  Nancy supported his book project as editor.

During his years on the NWS Board, Bob helped expand its Raising Writers creative writing program for youth and Opera House events, especially during the difficult pandemic period, when his wisdom and creativity were steadying influences.

Nancy Morgan Giles earned a master’s degree in school and child psychology at the University of Akron and a doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Rochester.

During her career as a psychologist, she most highly valued working with people facing trauma.

She was an avid volunteer with many organizations. A big reader, she supported literacy and higher education causes, organizing an author series at the Northport Library. She was president of the Alumni Board at Ohio Wesleyan and strongly believed in support for mental health causes. She volunteered in a capacity as a psychologist with the American Red Cross, the Junior League, and the Probate Court in Traverse City. She also belonged to a lot of book clubs, including a two-member book club with her son Dave.

“My mother believed 100 percent in open mindedness, compassion, reading, writing, all the things that make  a full life,” said her daughter Megan Cooney.

In August of last year, NWS established a named series in the couple’s honor: Bob and Nancy Giles “Truth Matters” Author Conversations.

This series helps support nonfiction events, including Heather Cox Richardson, the New York Times bestselling author of Democracy Awakening who was here in October. Next up is a March 11 event with Barbara McQuade, a U-M law professor, legal analyst and author of the upcoming book, Attack from Within: How Disinformation is Sabotaging America.