Although Stacey Roth Goergen ’90 had been steeped in the art world as a curator, collector, and art museum board member, she wasn’t all that familiar with what was happening at Princeton’s own art museum. That changed several years ago, after meeting Frances Winston Levy ’79 at a gathering of Princeton alumnae in New York.
You can support Princeton through your estate in several ways, including through IRAs and retirement plans. Learn more about how to maximize your gifts.
Chas Dibble ’74 named the University as the beneficiary of his retirement plan, leaving a legacy for the next generation of students.
Princeton had such an impact on K-T Overbey ’89 that in her late twenties she named the University as a beneficiary in her will.
Hear words of wisdom from three alumni experts in this podcast of the 2014 Gift Planning program held during Reunions.
Bruce Freeman has just assumed the duties of class agent for the five years leading up to the Class of 1969’s 50th Reunion, but he is no stranger to University service. He has long served his class as Annual Giving special gifts chair, leadership chair, and participation volunteer. He was a reunion committee member, and yearbook editor for ’69’s 35th, 40th, and 45th Reunions. A former member of the 1969 Community Service Fund Board of Directors, he was also a member of his regional schools committee. And he spent 10 years on Princeton’s staff as a senior associate director of Annual Giving.
Hal Saunders has always been proud to wear orange and black. Princeton gave him, he says, “my intellectual awakening and my basic approach to life. I am deeply appreciative of everything the University offered me.” At Princeton he majored in English, and earned a certificate in the Program in American Civilization (now American Studies).
In 1984, Bob Peck ’88 was the valedictorian of his high school class, poised to become the first person in his family to attend college. The son of a butcher who had recently passed away, he planned to apply to schools only in his home state of Texas. A visit from Alumni Schools Committee member Theodore McAlister ’52 introduced him to other possibilities.
Dean Groel has enthusiastically served his class and his alma mater for over 50 years. “I am proud to be a member of the Class of 1957 and to be a graduate of this great university,” he says, “with its strong commitment to undergraduate education.
Susie Brennan is a fifth grade teacher at Chapin School in Princeton. “From time to time,” she says, “people have asked me why I went to Princeton ‘just’ to become an elementary school teacher. What better place to go to become anything?” Princeton, she says, “gave me confidence to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher and the education and skills I needed to do so.”
“Princeton gave me so much,” says Bob Nahas, “above all, the ability to think critically.” He “learned so much in a variety of areas. Every day I am grateful for the broad education I received.” He also cherishes “the friendships I made, and connection with so many Princetonians.” That connection has expanded through his work as class agent.
Kentucky native Kevin Smith is driven to “help the people of Appalachia in any way I can.” So why does he volunteer for Princeton? “It’s an easy answer,” he says. “The experience I had at the Woodrow Wilson School, the contact with the faculty, the wide interests of the students, has made my current work possible.”
Jim Balassone has been involved in Princeton fundraising for 46 years, and is currently special gifts co-chair for the Class of 1964’s 50th Reunion campaign. “Every contact with a fellow Princetonian, whether someone I knew at Princeton or someone I have met in recent years, has proven to be its own reward,” he says.
When Robert Gleason reflects on what Princeton means to him, he focuses on “the concept of continuity. We honor Princetonians who came before, and work to make an even better experience for the students of the future.” He appreciates “the huge strides the University has made to welcome, accept, and celebrate LGBT students, and all kinds of students. That makes me want to double down on my volunteer commitment.”
Y. S. Chi ’83 says the more he gives to Princeton, the more he receives. If his volunteer record is any indication, the relationship has been extraordinarily fulfilling. Chi is a former University trustee and has worked on behalf of the Alumni Schools Committee, the Council of the Princeton University Community, Annual Giving, Career Services, the Princeton Varsity Club, Capital Giving, the East Asian Studies Advisory Council, the Bridge Year Committee, and more. He also has given generously in support of University priorities.
Marina Mitchell, chair of Annual Giving for the Graduate School, came to Princeton from the Republic of Georgia to pursue a master’s degree at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “I am from a country where family and friends are extremely important,” she says. “You live among a close group of people who really care about one another. When I came here from Georgia, that is what Princeton gave me. That, and a superb education. Now I’m trying to give back to Princeton.”
During her undergraduate years, Sharon Holland '86 was well known on campus as an activist. “I changed Princeton and Princeton changed me,” she says. Now, she has made a bequest that honors her experience in her own unique way.
The Society's annual luncheon features remarks by President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 and Carolyn Ainslie, vice president for finance and treasurer.
When Harvard alumnus Jim Posner was choosing a graduate school, he decided on Princeton because “Princeton was flexible, welcoming, and encouraged individual goals.” It is the same flexibility and attention to individual circumstances that Posner found in Princeton’s Office of Gift Planning when he sought a way to show his “great appreciation” to the University.
Evan Fieldston says he volunteers for Annual Giving because he values Princeton’s culture of giving back, in which alumni support makes the undergraduate experience possible for new generations. “Being a part of that tradition means a lot to me,” he says.
John Rustum was the first person in his family to attend college, thanks, he says, to the hard work of his parents and the financial assistance Princeton provided. He feels “a special debt of gratitude to the Princetonians who came before me, whose generosity to the University made my education possible.” As a longtime Annual Giving volunteer, special gifts co-chair, and now co-class agent, he aims “to do for future students what other alumni did for me.”
John Proctor remembers, “as if it were yesterday,” listening to the late Robert F. Goheen ’40 *48, then University President, at the Class of 1964’s freshman orientation gathering. Goheen “spoke with considerable emotion about Princeton’s culture of ‘giving back,’ which to me meant that I had a duty to the University and a duty to society.” Proctor says he treasures the education he received at Princeton, and “will always be grateful to the University and will do what I can to help maintain its excellence.”
It is not unusual for co-class agents to confer, discuss their Annual Giving goals, and plan strategy. Cameron Barrett and Rahsaan Harris, however, have raised the bar for a class agency cooperative enterprise and just plain togetherness: they were tent mates on a recent mountaineering expedition to the 19,341-foot peak of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Shelby M.C. Davis '58 and his wife, Gale, founded the Davis United World College Scholars Program in 2000 at Princeton and four other pilot institutions. The program now awards scholarships to students who graduate from a United World College school and then attend one of 76 designated U.S. colleges or universities.
Andy Cowherd embarked on his first volunteer assignment for Princeton in 1970: he was elected president of the freshman class, later known as the Great Class of 1974. He was returned to the presidency in 1999 and has held that office ever since. While he has taken brief vacations from class officership, he has never taken a vacation from service to the University.