If you have included Southwestern University in your estate plans, you’ve already earned membership in the 1840 Society—a distinguished group of individuals who provide for the University through wills, trusts, life income gifts, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and other vehicles.
Let us know if your estate plans include Southwestern University, so you can start enjoying the benefits of this prestigious society. University insiders are recognized in an online honor roll and receive special invitations to exclusive University, donor-only events and a beautifully engraved Southwestern gift. Most importantly, you will receive our profound appreciation and the knowledge that you will be helping the University you so love.
The Southwestern student body encompasses the world’s most aspiring minds—minds that need the physical and intellectual resources to explore, discover, and create freely. Estate gifts ensure our ability to enrich the educational experience for all students, support faculty and new research, provide scholarships, and keep our library, laboratories, and facilities up to date for generations to come.
What do you want your gift to do? By making your estate gift plans known, we can ensure your gift will be used exactly as you intend.
We are eager to welcome you to the 1840 Society, so please call April Hampton Perez ’89, Senior Director of Gift & Estate Planning, at 512.863.1485 and let the University know of your estate gift and allow us the opportunity to show our appreciation for your generosity of spirit by becoming a member of this special group of loyal supporters of Southwestern.
Alumni and friends contribute in meaningful ways each year. You, too, can leave behind gifts of lasting impact. What will your legacy be? To learn more, visit www.southwestern.edu/MyLegacy.
Thank you for your generous support of Southwestern University students and faculty. Thank you for your investment in our mission and vision. Thank you for making the Southwestern community more vibrant and life-changing. Thank you, quite simply, for being Southwestern!
Great universities require great resources, and your investment in Southwestern University is a large part of what makes us great. Philanthropy is at the core of the Southwestern Experience precisely because it allows the University to provide a more engaging, deeper, broader and more rigorous academic experience for students, while increasing the value of a Southwestern degree for alumni. From supporting our world-class faculty to advancing the student life experience, philanthropy makes it possible.
This past academic year was a phenomenal year for philanthropy at Southwestern. As you scroll through this honor roll of donors, I hope you are inspired by and proud of the gifts of money and time made by so many of our alumni, parents, students, friends, faculty and staff. My family and I are excited to join the Southwestern community and we look forward to meeting many of you during the next year as Southwestern continues to celebrate 175 years of higher education in Texas and accelerates toward an even more transformational 175 years to come!
Vice President for University Relations
Matt and Donna Carter Worley, both ’80, met during their freshman year at Southwestern when, as Matt describes it, “this beautiful girl just walked in (to my room in Herman Brown Hall) like she belonged there, and I guess in a way she did.”
The Worleys, who were both involved in Greek life as students—Donna as a member of Delta Delta Delta and Matt as a member of Kappa Alpha Order—say that Southwestern has been an integral part of their life together for 40 years. And, Matt says, “It will continue to be a part of our life for many years to come; we’re still enjoying our Southwestern Experience.” Their son, Doak Worley, also attended Southwestern and graduated in 2008.
Donna, an education major who went on to become a teacher and is now a low incidence disability support specialist for the functional communication classrooms in Round Rock Independent School District, says that at Southwestern she learned to appreciate the perspectives, goals and visions of others, which has helped her in her career. She says that financial aid made it possible for her to attend Southwestern, and that now she gives back as a way of helping to “do my part to spread the message that we have a top notch institution in Central Texas that produces top notch men and women ready to make their mark on our world.”
Matt majored in accounting and went on to work as a real estate property manager in Austin. He says, “My accounting knowledge made record keeping easy, but far more useful were the critical thinking skills I developed at Southwestern.” He is currently an accountant with Black + Vernooy, AIA in Austin. Matt explains that he feels the value of an on-campus, liberal arts education is more than passing a test or getting a certification, and he gives back with his time and finances because of his life-changing experience. “I am a steward of the Southwestern Experience.”
Matt and Donna continue to serve on the Alumni Council of Southwestern University and previously served as co-presidents of The Greater Georgetown Association.
As current Southwestern parents, Sean and Melissa Burke have embraced a college experience for their daughter far different from their own. “Although we have fond memories of our own college years, we embraced the very different approach of the Southwestern Experience for our daughter, says Melissa. “We knew that Bethany would thrive in an environment in which small classes with authentic engagement is the norm.”
The pathway to becoming a ‘liberal arts family’ was an easy one for the Burkes, in particular because Bethany received a scholarship from Southwestern. “We appreciate that Southwestern invested in Bethany by admitting her to the University and awarding her a generous scholarship….so we felt compelled to invest in the University in return.”
Bethany, a sophomore communications major, was a Southwestern University cheerleader during her first semester and later joined Southwestern’s Student Philanthropy Council, a group of students who work to raise awareness about the importance of alumni giving.
“The Southwestern Experience is a well-constructed cumulative process designed to engage students to the point of transforming their lives,” says Sean. Offering a bit of advice for new parents, Melissa says, “Get used to seeing Dr. Burger everywhere, most often interacting with students who refer to him as Prez B.” She also explains that the Southwestern Experience will likely be very different from (other) universities; keep in mind that this is probably the reason your student chose Southwestern in the first place.”
Melissa and Sean are the incoming chairs of Southwestern’s Parent Leadership Gift Council, which is composed of parents who contribute $2,500 or more to Southwestern. “The PLGC provided us the opportunity to connect with Southwestern staff, faculty and administration, as well as other parents who share the common goal of supporting the excellence of the University,” the Burkes say.
During his 29 years at Southwestern, Professor of Sociology and University Scholar Ed Kain has seen many lives transformed through the power of a Southwestern education. “I believe that higher education is the major way in which individual lives can be improved, and by which our society can become a better place for future generations,” he says. Without financial support, however, Kain may never have realized that improvement. “Scholarship support made it possible for me to attend a small liberal arts college like Southwestern,” he says.
For Kain, “Southwestern is a place where we aim high and encourage our students to do so as well. We have lofty expectations for our students, for our colleagues and for our future.” This year, Southwestern began raising money for two endowed scholarships honoring Kain’s work as a teacher scholar. These scholarships will provide need-based financial aid to undergraduate students, as well as financial support for the faculty research that has become one of the hallmarks of the Southwestern Experience.
“The best teachers are those who are active in research and professional activity,” says Kain. “This keeps faculty members current so that students are introduced to the most recent academic work. If our students want to be successful in applying to graduate schools they need research experience. Doing research and presenting it in professional settings are ideal pathways for the development of the critical thinking, writing and oral communication skills necessary for success in jobs in both the corporate world and in non-profits.”
Giving back to Southwestern has been an easy choice for Kain because, he says, “My undergraduate education transformed my life. I want the charitable gifts I designate to Southwestern to do the same for students of the future.”
Penny Wong ’15 graduated from Southwestern with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. While on campus, she minored in sociology, was a member of the varsity women’s cross country team, and began her current internship with St. David’s Dental Program, which brings mobile dental clinics to high-needs schools and social services agencies in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties. She also gave back to Southwestern by making a senior gift.
Wong says that Southwestern’s Pirate Bike Program piqued her interest in the University, and when she checked it out, she learned that her friend Michael Au ’13 was a student here. After visiting campus, Southwestern became one of Wong’s top three choices. “The excellence that is pursued in the programs, the integration of studies, and the financial aid package sealed the deal for me to matriculate at Southwestern,” she says.
As a student, Wong was active in academic and co-curricular activities on campus. She says that her favorite Southwestern memory is “when I presented my first speech for my public speaking class. That’s where I first learned the value of stories and how I can express myself through them. It’s also where I met one of my best friends on campus, David Olson, director of communication studies internships.”
In part because she valued her strong mentorships with professors and staff, as well as the push to explore different fields, Wong says she made a Senior Gift with the hope that it will, in a small way, help future students have the same opportunity to pursue the things about which they are passionate. She also says she chose to make a gift because, “I would not have been able to afford Southwestern if I did not have those financial gifts.”
Wong has recently begun dental school at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
For Lee Silva Ferguson ’95, most of her time is spent in the biology classroom at Allen High School where she teaches AP biology in a flipped classroom (a form of blended learning in which students teach and share teaching time with instructors).
“I believe every student can learn,” says Ferguson. “Every kid might not leave my classroom a biologist, but every kid is going to be a problem solver.” She notes that Southwestern taught her to “value the development of the whole person” and feels “fortunate to work where I can encourage my students to think in the same way.”
At Southwestern, Ferguson says she worked hard in the classroom but remembers her extracurricular time as a student leader the most. “Don’t get me wrong, the things I learned in all my biology classes, my political science classes, my history classes…I still use those things, but it’s the things I learned informally that still have an impact on me daily.” Nineteen years after her graduation, Ferguson encourages her students to pursue what they love and learn from it. “My students are more than just kids driven by grades. I want them to be driven by a passion for knowledge, just like I was at Southwestern,” she says.
Ferguson chose to attend Southwestern because Andrew Decker ’93, her campus tour guide, seemed to know everyone on campus. “Every person Andrew ran into on our tour, he knew. [I came] from a large high school and knowing everyone on campus was impossible. The fact that it was possible to know everyone and forge relationships with nearly everyone you met was powerful to me.”
She attended Southwestern on a Mary Gibbs Jones Scholarship and says,“I firmly believe in the ‘pay it forward’ concept. Someone was generous enough to donate funds that enabled me to attend the University and I feel it is important to donate to the Southwestern Fund so that others can have the same opportunity that was afforded me more than 19 years ago. So, I have been a donor for 19 years.” Ferguson’s annual financial commitment to the University makes her a member of the Brown Society, a giving society that recognizes annual gifts of any size to Southwestern. And, last summer, she joined the 1840 Society by including Southwestern University in her estate plans.
This past year, Ferguson’s post-Southwestern transformation continued when she lost 225 pounds (and counting) following bariatric surgery, all the while being encouraged by Southwestern classmates and friends via Facebook, telephone, text message, and at the gym. “The phrase Alma Mater means ‘soul’s home’ in Latin and SU is definitely that for me. Southwestern is home to me and always will be.”
Six days after graduating from Southwestern, Nathan Tuttle ’14 began working as a development specialist with the San Antonio Clubhouse, a non-profit organization that works with adults living with serious mental illnesses. The organization helps members form meaningful relationships that enhance their quality of life. “One of Southwestern’s core values is ‘encouraging activism in the pursuit of justice and the common good’ and the emphasis at Southwestern on social justice had a big influence on me,” says Tuttle. “As I approached graduation, I knew that I wanted to do something that would help other people.”
A sociology major at Southwestern, Tuttle says that the University gave him a “safe space in which I was able to challenge myself and try new things everyday.” Serving as the student body president as a senior helped him hone leadership skills and provided valuable lessons in navigating the sometimes difficult world of campus life. “I was encouraged to be curious and ask questions,” he says. “As a study abroad student, my mind was opened to cultures that were totally foreign to me. Those experiences were all integral in shaping my attitude as a professional.”
A San Antonio native and the son of a Trinity University employee, Tuttle remembers going to sporting events and enjoying the Southwestern-Trinity rivalry. However, after touring the Southwestern campus, he says it was an easy decision to matriculate at Southwestern. “I immediately fell in love with the Southwestern campus. The tour guide talked about all of the opportunities the University had to offer, and when she explained the concept of the Living Learning Communities and Paideia, I was hooked.”
During his junior year, Tuttle worked closely with Maria Lowe and Reggie Bryon, professor and assistant professor of sociology respectively, on a student-driven research project. He says he was involved in every level of the research, from developing a survey instrument to conducting the interviews, analyzing the data and traveling to Charlotte, N.C. to present the results at the Southern Sociological Society meeting. “Few undergraduates get to collaborate with faculty on a research project; I am thankful that I was able to at Southwestern.”
Tuttle says of the Southwestern faculty, “They have dedicated their lives to mentoring Southwestern students. To this day, I feel the impact that my mentors had on me, and I want to give the same feeling to others.” As for his peers, he sees them as “agents for positive change in the world as a direct result of the liberal arts education that Southwestern offers” and believes that this is the reason giving to Southwestern makes sense.
In his still-new job at The Clubhouse, Tuttle says much of his work involves networking and building relationships, which is second nature thanks to his time on the close-knit Southwestern campus. But what he misses most is the academic experience. “I loved the tremendous value that Southwestern places on intellectual curiosity, exploration and discovery.”
For Kerry Parker, CEO of A+ Federal Credit Union, investing in the Southwestern Experience is a core value. “We are all about enriching our community. A+ FCU stands with its members during major life experiences, like going off to college. We want to be trusted advisers and help our members achieve their goals. Southwestern is trying to provide a holistic experience for its students, and we want to be a part of providing holistic solutions,” she says.
Parker is also a member of the Southwestern University Board of Visitors—a group of community leaders who gather twice a year to learn about the life-changing education afforded by Southwestern—as well as the parent of 2012 Southwestern graduate Jack Parker.
Jack was a leader on campus through his involvement in Pi Kappa Alpha, the Honor Code Council and the lacrosse team. “Jack is well-rounded,” says Parker. “Through his classes and through being an officer in PKA, Southwestern gave him the opportunity to engage with many different people. While Southwestern didn’t give him those skills, it helped him refine them.” Jack and his wife, Kimberlee Pierson ’12, met as students at SU. They now live and work in Houston.
A+ Federal Credit Union was founded in 1949 by a group of 50 teachers during a picnic meeting at Zilker Park in Austin. Parker became CEO of A+ FCU in 1999 and recently celebrated her 16th year with the credit union. “We really try to support our community partners,” she says. “We hope it is a win-win for the credit union and for Southwestern. Our mission is to invest in education and in the next generation.”
When James Gaeta ’87 took a job as an admission counselor shortly after graduation, he had no idea that it would lead to a long-term career at Southwestern. Now 28 years later, Gaeta serves as Director of Financial Aid and has the unique position of aligning current and prospective students with scholarships that lead them on a path to an educational journey similar to his own. “I came from a first-generation college family, and financial aid was pivotal in my ability to enroll at Southwestern,” he says.
In his role at Southwestern, Gaeta faces a major challenge of trying to match the demand for financial assistance with the limited supply of financial aid funding. “Decisions that I make will have an impact on a student’s ability to enroll or remain at Southwestern. It’s a role I take very seriously,” he says. However challenging, Gaeta believes that his Southwestern education prepared him for his job and he appreciates the opportunity to help students. “Knowing that I’ve been able to make it happen for a family who genuinely wants to be at Southwestern is one of my favorite parts of the job.”
Gaeta has a long list of favorite memories from his time at Southwestern, from hanging with the boys in Ruter to winning SING! to playing intramural basketball with his Pi Kappa Alpha brothers. Over the years, he has seen one thing remain constant. “The people here are important, whether students, staff or faculty; and that environment of support has been important and significant to my personal and professional growth.”
That simple human factor makes it easy for Gaeta to pay it forward, not only by helping students through his job but also by being a consistent donor to the Faculty/Staff Campaign throughout the years. “Southwestern makes a huge difference in the lives of its students, and it is important to me that my gift go toward something that supports positive changes in a person’s life,” he says. “The University community benefits from our ability to attract and retain a diverse group of students, and giving back helps to sustain this idea.”
Marc ’69 and Gail Todd Raney ’71 have more than an alumni perspective of Southwestern. After meeting as students (Marc was Gail’s orientation leader), the couple were married and came back to campus for six years when Marc was hired in 1974 as Director of Alumni Relations and later Director of Development. Their daughter, Ann Raney Stoltz ’02 is also a Southwestern graduate.
Both Marc and Gail went to large high schools and grew up in Methodist families, so Southwestern’s small size and Methodist connection were appealing to them. Marc also says Daryl Lindloff ’60 lived in his neighborhood and had a lot of good things to say about SU. Gail says that her scholarship was the deciding factor for her. “I recall that the minute I stepped onto campus, I knew it was where I was meant to be,” she says. “I thought these are the people I need to be with and the discussions I’m supposed to be having. I finally felt at home, and it was my scholarship that made it possible for me to be here.”
After graduating, Marc and Gail went to Boston for graduate school. Marc says that because Southwestern helped them to grow spiritually, morally, academically and socially, they felt very well prepared. “When we went to grad school, we knew why we had the values and the opinions we had, thanks to the discussions we had with our faculty and peers at SU,” he says. “Southwestern changes people,” adds Gail.
Now as Southwestern alumni, parents and former staff members, the Raneys have chosen to include the University in their estate plans. “Knowing that I went to Southwestern on scholarship makes me want to pay that back and provide the experience for others,” says Gail. In part because his career has been all about philanthropy, Marc says that giving back is a life expectation and a way to perpetuate the type of education that Southwestern offers. “We can do much more for our Alma Mater through our estate than we could ever do during our lifetime,” he says.
Amanda McMillian ’95 and her husband, Benjamin Holloway, live in Houston raising their two “sassy and smart” daughters, Maia and Emma, and spend their free time eating amazing food, volunteering on causes close to their hearts, and giving back to Southwestern.
During his two years on campus before leaving due to financial reasons, Holloway says that his Southwestern Experience was more about the people—both fellow students and professors—than anything else. McMillian says that for her, Southwestern was a safe place to explore and learn, expand her horizons, challenge herself, and meaningfully grow as a person. “It was a rich, frustrating, wonderful and gratifying experience,” she says. “The critical thinking, communication, research and writing skills I learned, along with my coursework in political science, communications, philosophy and gender studies, have all stuck with me and served me well.”
McMillian is vice president, deputy general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, and the incoming chair of Southwestern’s Board of Visitors. She says her professional roles require many skills that were either forged or honed at Southwestern; for example, strategic and critical thinking, the ability to quickly synthesize information, emotional intelligence, intellectual courage, communication skills (both written and verbal), adaptiveness, diplomacy and the ability to consider and appreciate other viewpoints.
Holloway, who is an english and art history teacher at Carnegie Vanguard High School, says his memories of Southwestern include “sneaking into the not-yet-open theater to explore the catwalks, going with Amanda to Laguna Gloria, and a really great 18th century British lit class with Dr. Kilfoyle.” He explains that one reason he and Amanda give to Southwestern is because “every year, I see students get accepted to their ‘dream school’ but go someplace else because they can’t afford their top choice, including those who would go to Southwestern if it weren’t for financial need. If our gifts can help someone who is really meant to be at SU actually go to SU, that means a lot to me.”
McMillian recalls that her time in the London Semester program was “life-changing.” She also remembers hanging out at the Korouva Milk Bar, laying in the grass on the Mall, and “playing in the fountain (I mean, er, the idea of playing in the fountain, not that I actually did, of course…).” She says she never would have been able to attend Southwestern were it not for generous financial aid. “I believe in Southwestern’s mission, and that President Burger, the administration and the faculty are passionately committed to transforming lives and improving the University every single day, creating real value for the students. How can you not support that?,” she asks.
Sylvia Sydow Kerrigan ’87 remembers walking through campus as a little girl, studying in the library, and playing sports on the athletic fields. When it came time to select a college, choosing Southwestern was one of the easiest decisions she ever had to make since she was already a Georgetown resident and a Pirate fan.
As an undergraduate English, political economy, and philosophy major, Kerrigan learned to appreciate the focus on “the whole person,” the rich broad-based education and the deep relationships forged with fellow classmates and faculty. “Dr. Score was such a special person. The classes were challenging and we were taught to think analytically and deeply,” she says.
It didn’t take much thought for Sylvia to decide to include the University in her estate plans. “My education was pivotal to the path I’m on today, leading a life that is challenging, fulfilling and exciting. My husband Matt and I both feel strongly that all of us have an obligation to help others along the way, and to give back to the extent that we can. I am honored to be able to include Southwestern in my will and to become a member of the 1840 Society. I take great joy in knowing that one day two endowed chairs will be named for each of my parents whom I love and admire.”
As executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Marathon Oil Company, Kerrigan meets challenges every day for which Southwestern prepared her. As a current University trustee, Kerrigan also prepares for Southwestern’s future. “I hope future generations will have the same kind of educational opportunities I enjoyed. Being a world-class university isn’t an easy job. Or a cheap one. But it’s like that old maxim, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ My gifts by themselves don’t really move the meter much at all, but with all of us doing what we can, when we can, how we can, collectively we share an enormous capacity to make sure the best is still ahead for Southwestern. And I know that it is—I can see the leadership in place here, the commitment to excellence, and I can see for myself how bright the future is. For me, and I hope for most of us, just being part of a community like Southwestern University is always its own reward.”