A Family’s Tradition
of Giving Back
From ballet to business—a Pitt Business couple’s love for dance shaped
their philosophy of giving back.
// Alumni Feature
Bluffton Academy for the Arts
Senior Financial Advisor
For the Eberlys, before business, there was ballet.
Robert Eberly III began his professional ballet career at the age of 12, where he danced and toured with ballet companies across the country. While they were both performing with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Robert met his wife, Meg. It was ballet that brought them to Pittsburgh and brought them together.
However, after a long and passionate career in ballet, both Robert and Meg retired from professional ballet to embark on a new journey—business school.
Robert (MBA/MIS ’05) and Meg (BSBA ’05) began their studies at Pitt Business. With the help of faculty and staff, Meg entered the Summer Leadership Program at Deloitte, where she gained valuable experience and eventually became a certified public accountant.
FROM BUSINESS TO BALLET
During his time as a Pitt Business student, Robert served on the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s board of directors. Following his studies, he worked at National City Bank in their private client group and continued his career at PNC.
“At Pitt, I got the opportunities to practice and learn real-world situations through case studies and business relationships that put actual project needs into our classrooms,” says Robert. “The diversity of the student body gave me great insight and a breadth of experience that enabled me to imagine solutions that I might not have otherwise come up with from my own singular point of view.”
Later, the Eberlys moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where Meg accepted a position in finance with Disney Vacation Club. Their love of dance continued to follow them, as Meg began teaching ballet at the Bluffton School of Dance. She now leads the ballet program and the school’s pre-professional program. In 2020, Meg created a performing arts school, the Bluffton Academy of the Arts (BAA), with a fellow dance instructor to offer better balance between students’ arts training and academic education. Other than their two children, Katherine and Robbie, Meg notes the BAA as her proudest achievement thus far.
Robert, who is now a senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in South Carolina, admits the transition from ballet to wealth management, while odd to some, was natural to him as he grew up around his family’s bank.
“I had the benefit of enjoying a career in ballet because there were families out there who believed in the importance of philanthropy and supporting the arts,” says Robert. “Working in wealth management gives me the opportunity to work with other families that share those beliefs and desires. I focus my practice on helping structure planning for people who want to make philanthropy a significant part of their financial plans.”
In addition, Robert advises and manages many nonprofits that are the targets of charitable donations, helping him “experience every seat around the charitable table.”
“We support many colleges and programs throughout Pitt through scholarships, professorships, labs, buildings, and more,” says Robert. “Our first aim is always scholarships and access to higher education.”
THE EBERLY FOUNDATION
The Eberlys’ relationship with Pitt Business, and with higher education, has gone much further than just being business students.
Founded in 1963, the Eberly Foundation was created by Robert’s great-grandparents, Orville and Ruth. Since its initial grant in 1965, the Eberly Foundation’s support of higher education has grown to include scholarship programs and endowments at 28 colleges and universities, including Carnegie Mellon University, The Pennsylvania State University at University Park, Penn State Fayette—the Eberly Campus, California University of Pennsylvania, West Virginia University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Thousands of deserving students from the Southwestern Pennsylvania region have been able to further their education through the support of the Eberly Foundation.
“We support many colleges and programs throughout Pitt through scholarships, professorships, labs, buildings, and more,” says Robert. “Our first aim is always scholarships and access to higher education. Past this, we look for needs and areas where we can make a measurable, lasting impact. We just completed the planning and agreement for a first-of-its-kind future gift from our foundation that will ensure a relationship between our family and the University for, literally, generations to come.”
SUPPORTING PITT BUSINESS
Specific to Pitt Business, the Eberly Foundation has gone above and beyond in their support. The foundation has helped fund the Eberly Foundation Business Research Lab with the Pitt Business Research Center by donating $250,000 over five years, and has made a similar gift to establish the Eberly Foundation Robert Eberly III Endowed Scholarship at Pitt Business.
Beyond the business school, the Eberly Foundation has shown unwavering support to the University’s School of Law by funding their Pitt Law Civil Rights Initiative, committing $250,000 to the project. This project was several years in the making and will enable Pitt Law to shine light on and work to correct the profound consequences of racism and bias in our legal system.
“I see the responsibility of continuing our family’s longstanding tradition of philanthropy and supporting education in Southwestern Pennsylvania as an opportunity to potentially play some small part in the story of the next bright-eyed, enthusiastic kid who steps onto this campus, hones their ideas here, and changes the world,” says Robert.
Pitt Business Research Center