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Annual Giving

Gift Profiles

Alumni Accomplish Philanthropic & Personal Objectives


Brent '58 and Susan Wedding
After his graduation from Hamilton, Brent Wedding '58 returned to his home state to pursue an M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.  He was subsequently hired by Corning Inc., where he worked as a research physicist.  In 1991, Brent and his wife Susan had a plan for the future when they established their first deferred payment charitable gift annuity with Hamilton.  It was simple - they wanted to express gratitude to the College.  Nine deferred payment gift annuities and numerous capital and Annual Fund gifts later they have done that and more.  Now in retirement, the annuity payments augment their income.

Recently, Brent reflected on the scholarship assistance he received as an undergraduate.  "Devoted alumnus and trustee, Charles F. Hemenway, Class of 1910, and other alumni in Chicago established the Illinois Regional Scholarship that made my Hamilton education possible.  Susan and I honor his memory by contributions to the successor fund - the C.F. Hemenway and Frank Barbour Memorial Scholarship."  The Weddings have completed a number of outright and planned gifts to provide similar opportunities for future "Charlie's men and women."

The Wedding legacy did not end with Brent.  Their son, John, and daughter, Caryl, both chose Hamilton.  John '94 lives in King George, Va., with his wife Vanessa and daughter Jillian.  He received a Ph.D. from Rensselaer and is a physicist in a research lab.  Caryl Hirst '98 resides in Bath, N.Y., with her husband Ronald and daughter Susan.  She is a school psychologist with the Penn Yan School District, having earned a M.S. from Alfred University.  Both were accomplished musicians at Hamilton.

Colonel Theodore H.M. '47 and Janet Wert Crampton
Geologist Janet Wert Crampton says the renown of Hamilton's Geosciences Department is a motivating factor in the consistent financial support she and her husband, Colonel Theodore H.M. Crampton '47, have given the College.  Ted Crampton notes that besides repaying alma mater, annuities serve as welcome sea anchors just when most other assets have lost value.   They appreciate that the gift annuity rate is higher than CD or money-market rates and gift annuity income has tax advantages over other fixed income.  Since 1999, the Cramptons have completed seven charitable gift annuities with Hamilton. 

Lawrence '52 and Winifred Gulick
Lawry Gulick '52, distinguished professor at the University of Delaware, Dartmouth College and Hamilton, dean of the faculty at Hamilton and president of St. Lawrence University, along with his wife Win, established a charitable remainder trust with Hamilton and funded it with a seaside vacation condominium. The remainder value will establish the Gulick Fund, with the annual income used to support the Senior Fellowship Program, established by Lawry when he was dean.
On the occasion of their gift, Lawry said, "The essence of Hamilton resides in its talented faculty, a faculty that rewarded only my best efforts as a student, and one that insisted upon my learning the importance of effective written and oral discourse." The Gulick Fund will provide necessary resources for future students and faculty to enjoy the educational opportunities Lawry experienced as a student and nurtured as dean.
Initially, Lawry served as trustee of the trust, allowing him to manage the sale of the vacation home; then he resigned and appointed Hamilton as successor trustee. The Gulicks will receive quarterly payments from the unitrust equal to 5% of the annual valuation of the trust assets. The 5% unitrust – the lowest rate permissible under federal law – allows maximum trust appreciation to meet the philanthropic objectives of the Gulick Fund, and payments that are likely to grow and keep pace with inflation over time.
By establishing their planned gift, the Gulicks benefited from an immediate income tax charitable contribution deduction and saved capital gains tax on the appreciated real property.   They will receive their variable payments for as long as either one of them lives – from an asset that they no longer needed and one which produced no income.

Elizabeth J. McCormack
When Hamilton kicked off the 175th Anniversary Campaign in 1983, Elizabeth McCormack made a $3,000 pledge. Many gifts and several capital campaigns later, she continues her commitment to the College. In 2005, she pledged $1 million to the Excelsior Campaign and fulfilled that commitment by completing two charitable gift annuities.
Commenting on a major advantage of making a planned gift, Elizabeth McCormack said, "Completing my charitable gift annuity allowed me to make the contribution during my lifetime." In fact, accelerating a bequest is a planned gift strategy that many donors employ. It gives donors the opportunity to enjoy their philanthropy during their lifetimes. As she reflected, "The best part was the joy I experienced when I invested in something I believe in - Hamilton."
An alumna, and former philosophy teacher, dean and president of Manhattanville College, she earned a master's degree from Providence College and a doctorate from Fordham University as well as many honorary degrees, including one from Hamilton. Elizabeth McCormack began her association with Hamilton in 1978 having previously served on the board of trustees of Kirkland College. As a young nun, she taught at and was later headmistress of the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich. After leaving the Order of the Sacred Heart, she became a philanthropic and educational advisor to the Rockefeller Family and was Chair of the Asian Cultural Council. Having served on numerous corporate boards, she used matching gifts from those organizations to supplement her own gifts to Hamilton. Her marriage to the late Jerome "Jerry" Aron completed her life in many ways.
A 2004 article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy quoted Elizabeth McCormack, "To use your money to make a difference is something one has to learn. You have to think broadly, and in my opinion, give narrowly." She has supported many causes at Hamilton including scholarships, professorships, the arts - the ultimate purpose for her gift annuities - and the Annual Fund.

Karen and Art '64 Massolo
"Establishing a scholarship to support disadvantaged students and augmenting it through a charitable remainder unitrust have been among the best investments we have ever made. The scholarship enables recipients to attend a first class liberal arts college they never may have dreamed possible and enhances the lives of the entire Hamilton community by increasing diversity. The trust has been financially sound; as the endowment grows, so do our payments and the ultimate addition to the scholarship."

Art '64 and Karen Massolo, parents of Arthur '93, have long been associated with LINK Unlimited, a program that "adopts" promising youths in Chicago and provides them with educational assistance in preparation for college and beyond. They endowed The Arturo Domenico Massolo Memorial Scholarship at Hamilton - that benefits LINK students - in memory of Art's grandfather. Their two-life unitrust that is invested with Hamilton's endowment makes payments to them now; at the conclusion of the trust term, the principal will be added to the scholarship supporting even more students in the future.

Barbara and Dean '50 Alfange, Jr.
The genesis of a gift to Hamilton can be quite simple – a donor wishes to benefit the College. However, in the case of the Alfange family, a single gift led to a full circle of support. In 1937, Dean Alfange '22 received the inaugural Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Award for his book The Supreme Court and the National Will. With generosity and foresight, he contributed his $2,500 prize to the College to endow the Dean Alfange Essay Prizes, awarded each year to two students who write the best essays on the development of American constitutional government.

As a student Milton Kayle '43 was a recipient of the Dean Alfange Essay Prize, a point he made when he accepted the Bell Ringer Award in the Chapel last June. The prize left him with a lasting impression and inspired his life-long philanthropy and service to Hamilton. This past year at Class & Charter Day, Matthew Colman '06 and Ian Mandel '06, donors to the Senior Gift Campaign, were awarded Alfange prizes.

However the story doesn't end there. In the fall of 2005, Dean Alfange, Jr. '50 and his wife Barbara used assets inherited from his father to complete a charitable gift annuity with Hamilton. This gift ultimately will establish The Dean Alfange, Class of 1922, Distinguished Visiting Professorship in a field related to the history, philosophy, or culture of Ancient Greece. The purpose of the visiting professorship will be to attract to Hamilton scholars in this area, which was one of Dean Alfange's abiding interests.

Philip '78 and Elizabeth K'77 Hawkins

Philip '78 and Elizabeth K'77 Hawkins
Like many alumni couples, Phil Hawkins '78 and Elizabeth Porter Hawkins K'77 share a nostalgic fondness for the College where they met. But it's looking ahead to the future that motivates them to support Hamilton.

"I enjoyed my Hamilton experience very much. Hamilton taught me lessons in learning and getting along in a community. It helped me begin to grow up," Phil recalled. "I may not have agreed with every decision made at the College over the years, but I am encouraged about what Hamilton has become. It's a place that continues to provide very relevant and meaningful opportunities to today's young people."

On the Hill, Phil studied economics and was on the swim team. A French studies major at Kirkland, Liz took most of her courses at Hamilton. During her junior year she participated in the Experiment in International Living where she served as an assistante teaching English in a French public school. After earning his M.B.A. at the University of Chicago, Phil began his career in corporate real estate investment. Today he is president of CarrAmerica Realty Corp., a real estate investment trust based outside of Washington, D.C. Liz continues to devote her energies to education as a volunteer and substitute teacher at the Flint Hill School.

Although Phil's career took them to several cities throughout the country over the years, the Hawkins remained connected to their roots on the Hill, serving in a variety of volunteer roles. About five years ago when the couple went through an estate-planning process, their financial advisor asked about their charitable interests. "We both felt strongly that Hamilton belonged on that list," Phil said. "To the extent that we are able, we will continue to offer our support."

Jerry '59 and Polly Dirvin
Jerry '59 and Polly Dirvin
Gerald '59 and Polly Dirvin
In the weeks following his Hamilton graduation, Gerald Dirvin '59 set the course for the rest of his life by marrying Polly Burnett and starting to sell soap for Procter & Gamble in Utica. "I really needed a job and a car!" recalls Jerry, who retired in 1994 after 35 years with the company.

Despite a busy career that took the couple to eight cities in their first 15 years of married life, Jerry and his houseparty date remained ever supportive of the College. A Hamilton trustee for nearly 25 years, Jerry has mentored dozens of students and young graduates through the career search process. For some, it meant jobs with P&G; for others he served as counselor, helping them identify the best career path.

Also generous with their financial support, Jerry and Polly established The Dirvin Family Prize Scholarship created to honor Jerry's parents and the Dirvins' children, including son David '84. As part of their retirement planning, the Dirvins set up a charitable remainder unitrust in 1996, the remainder value of which will provide additional support to the scholarship.

"Without the help of two scholarships, plus the money I earned waiting on tables at the DKE house, I would not have been able to attend Hamilton," Jerry says. "Supporting the College now allows me to pay back with interest the benefactors who made my education possible. I'm simply repaying a debt."

Linda and Albert '42 Hartig


Linda and Albert '42 Hartig
Today it might be delivering Meals on Wheels or volunteering at the local hospital and nursing home. Tomorrow it could be offering encouragement to donors at a Red Cross blood drive or contacting classmates on behalf of Hamilton. No matter what is on his agenda for the day, Al Hartig '42 has always been one to roll up his sleeves and get the job done.
Together with his wife Linda, the Hartigs commit dozens of hours each month to a variety of causes in the Greenwich, Conn., area. Al, who retired in 1988 as a partner at the brokerage firm Gruntal & Co., says "people make too much of a big deal" out of the time and effort he volunteers, because to him, "it seems like so little." Plus, "it gets me out of the house. People don't realize I really do all this as much for myself as I do for others," he said.
Al's ever-modest devotion includes service to Hamilton, where he and Linda have been generous with their time and financial resources. Al's volunteer efforts have ranged from serving on the Alumni Council and the Major Gift and Reunion Gift committees to hosting prospective students. In 1988, he received the Bell Ringer Award, the Alumni Association's highest honor.
The Hartigs have established the Linda D. and Albert M. Hartig Scholarship that each year allows two or three promising students to attend Hamilton. A number of charitable gift annuities and their estate plan provisions will be added to the scholarship in the future, benefiting even more students in perpetuity.
"We consider ourselves fortunate to have had the chance to give back to Hamilton, but like our volunteer work, the charitable gift annuities benefit us, too," Al said. "We avoid capital gains by giving away appreciated securities. Plus we can use a portion of the income we receive to make larger gifts to the Annual Fund."
The Hartigs include Hamilton among the long list of organizations they support because, as Al recalls, "Swampy Marsh gave me the confidence to stand up in front of a group and make a speech. He wouldn't let me give up, and that stuck with me all my life."

Sally and Hans Solmssen '59, P'90, '94

Sally and Hans Solmssen '59, P'90, '94

Throughout the years, Hans Solmssen '59, P '90, '94 has contributed his expertise to the College from multiple perspectives. Hans has served on the Alumni Council and, with his wife, Sally, on the Parents Advisory Council for eight years when sons Christopher '90 and Andrew '94 were on the Hill.

 A retired banker, he returns to campus regularly to participate in Career Center panel discussions and last year spoke with students in an international finance class. So strong and long-lasting are Hans's ties to his alma mater that it is not surprising when it came time to do some personal financial planning, he and Sally put Hamilton at the top of their list.

"Everyone's situation is different. We found ourselves with a stock portfolio that had a very low cost basis. After meeting with our financial advisor, it became clear that establishing a charitable remainder unitrust would provide many advantages in terms of income and capital gains tax savings," he said. In addition, the Solmssens also receive quarterly income distributions. "Having that consistent cash flow in our retirement is especially desirable."

Above all, there was the added incentive of being able to do something significant for Hamilton. "The unitrust," Hans said, "has allowed us the opportunity to make a much larger gift than we ever thought possible."

The ultimate result of their generosity is The Solmssen Family Scholarship. "Hamilton was very special to us and our sons. At Hamilton I learned how to think logically and write effectively. I learned how to get along with people and to speak extemporaneously in front of large groups. Hamilton's role in my life was significant and this is one way to express my gratitude."

Scott '92 and LynnErin McNeil '92 Tyler

Scott '92 and LynnErin McNeil '92 Tyler
Scott and LynnErin value Hamilton for their education and bringing them together. As LynnErin recalls, "Hamilton is where Scott and I met, and it will be a special place for us forever." With two small children, Mary and John, they realized having wills in place was important. When they began planning how to handle their assets, they decided to include Hamilton among their testamentary bequests. "We felt it was important to show thanks to Hamilton for the invaluable foundation it provided both of us as we started our academic and professional careers."

Charles '46 and Nancy Brink

Nancy and Charles Brink '46

"The training of Swampy Marsh stood me in good stead," noted Charles G. "Chuck" Brink '46. "My Hamilton education taught me the importance of language as a means of expression and persuasion."

Those skills, honed under the watchful eye of Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory Willard "Swampy" Marsh, served Chuck well throughout the years. He enjoyed success in three careers -- radio and television broadcasting, managing his family's business, the Binghamton Industrial Supply Co., Inc., and, at SUNY Binghamton, as both an adjunct faculty member and as a volunteer, where he began the university's planned giving office.

Combining business savvy and planned giving expertise, Chuck and his wife, Nancy, recognized the advantages of completing a charitable gift annuity during their lifetimes rather than meeting their philanthropic objectives through a will provision. Their first annuity worked so well, they completed several more. Each time they make additional annuity contributions, they increase their income, reduce capital gains tax on their appreciated securities, save income taxes and remove the property from their estates in much the same way as a bequest.

Through their gifts, the Brinks are doing their part to ensure that Swampy's commitment to effective communication remains the hallmark of a Hamilton education.

Anthony R. '39 and Muriel D'Agostino, Jr.

Anthony R. '39 and Muriel D'Agostino, Jr.

Nemo D'Agostino has enjoyed a rewarding career in real estate development and building golf courses in the northeast. "I am satisfied with my life and I attribute much success to my ability to extrapolate from my education at Hamilton." A nurse, who rose to one of the top public health positions in New York State, Muriel often speaks glowingly of Nemo's Hamilton education. Clearly, it enriched their lives.

Among their real estate holdings, Nemo and Muriel owned 80 acres of greatly appreciated, undeveloped land bordering Kirkland Glen and Reservoir Road. Motivated primarily by protecting Hamilton's southern boundary, they discussed various options with Hamilton over several years. In 2002, their circumstances changed when they sold a highly appreciated, commercial property. Their advisors recognized that the income tax charitable contribution deduction from a gift of the glen property would help to offset some of the tax due from the sale of the commercial property. Maximizing the income tax charitable contribution deduction is a fundamental planned gift strategy.

Structured as an Installment Bargain Sale, Hamilton will make modest payments to the D'Agostinos for the next six years to replace some of the income that was generated by the commercial property. The installment payments provide retirement income to the D'Agostinos and allow the capital gains, attributable to the sale portion, to be reported over the life of the contract. The D'Agostinos avoided tax on the capital gain associated with the gift portion. In short, the donors have "unlocked" their equity in a highly appreciated, illiquid, non-income producing asset, while saving capital gains tax.

Finally, the contribution removed the value of the gift from their estates, saving estate tax, as well as simplifying the responsibilities of the executor at some point in the future.

The College has benefited tremendously from the generosity of the D'Agostinos. Acquiring a valuable 80-acre parcel for a fraction of its value and protecting the southern border of the campus forever.

(In recent years, real property in diverse areas of the country, including California, Connecticut, Florida, the District of Columbia, Nevada, New Hampshire and New York, has been given to Hamilton, providing the donors with attractive tax advantages and the College with a lasting benefit.)

For more information about Planned Giving at Hamilton, please contact Ben Madonia '74, Director of Planned Giving, at 1-866-729-0317 (phone) or by email at bmadonia@hamilton.edu.

At Your Service

Hamilton makes a number of resources available to you, including the following:

Email Ben Madonia '74 or Joni Chizzonite or call 1-866-729-0317 for more information.