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Reunion 2009 Almost 1,000 return to celebrate
Outstanding alumni recognized 11 awardees profiled
Giving in the family spirit Senior family-gift ceremony
FOSA gets in the swing Rackets and clubs get moving
Horse show rides high Saratoga Classic Horse Show a big draw
Still banking on Skidmore Giving makes it happen


Still banking on Skidmore

The stock market decline and stalled economy haven’t derailed the Creative Thought Bold Promise campaign. That’s thanks in large part to some savvy gift-planning maneuvers by alumni, parents, and friends. Many donors are taking the time to re-establish personal priorities, and several have found creative ways to manage their properties or portfolios in order to help shape Skidmore’s future.
More than $65 million of the $192 million raised to date has come from planned gifts—bequests, gift annuities, charitable trusts, real estate, or other commitments. Donors who make planned gifts are recognized with induction into Skidmore’s Legacy Society. So far their philanthropic strategizing has underwritten everything from endowed professorships, scholarships, and research funding to new buildings, artworks, and library books. A few examples:

Skidmore parent and New York City financier Arthur Zankel guided Skidmore’s growth as a trustee for many years. Among his gifts to Skidmore was an endowed faculty chair in business and liberal arts. After he died in 2005, Skidmore received by far its largest gift ever, some $46 million, from his estate. The College has put that transformative bequest toward several major initiatives, including construction of the Arthur Zankel Music Center, due to open next year. Celebrating Zankel’s love for music —and marking his gratitude for the education that benefited sons Kenneth ’82 and James ’92 as well as other family members—the Zankel Music Center will feature a 600-seat concert hall and a smaller recital hall, practice facilities, classrooms, extensive digital resources, and more.

The artistic legacy of Grett Haas Friedman ’42 can be seen all over the country, including near the entrance to the Skidmore campus. An art major who built a 30-year career in advertising and marketing, Friedman devoted her retirement to making sculpture. As a dedicated alumna, she watched the building of Skidmore’s new campus with great interest and hope. And she knew she wanted to contribute in her own way to the development of both campus and college. She did so through a bequest that included many of her own artworks, which are now part of Skidmore’s permanent collection and can be counted as gifts in kind for the current campaign. One of Friedman’s abstract stone sculptures adorns the front lawn of the Colton Alumni Welcome Center.

When it came time to cash in a long-held commercial annuity, Linda Nard-Caldwell ’67 explored the possibilities for rolling it over into something she’d read about in mailings from Skidmore: a charitable gift annuity. As she learned more about gift planning, she loved the idea of supporting Skidmore with a significant commitment while keeping the option to receive income from that investment during her lifetime. She didn’t know if she’d ever need the annuity payments to supplement her income, but she liked the assurance that they’d be available. So she set up her gift as a flexible deferred gift annuity, which allows her to make the donation now, as part of Skidmore’s current campaign, but to delay the start of her income payments until she asks for them in the future. In addition, Nard-Caldwell has named Skidmore the beneficiary of her retirement assets. Both resources will be used to establish a Skidmore student-aid fund.

When Sally Swart Schild ’77 and her mother, Ruth Swart, were discussing the future of a 24-acre property that had been in their family for 200 years, Sally made the suggestion to give it to her alma mater. With Sally living in Florida and Ruth in Massachusetts, the old farmland in upstate New York was seeing very little use, and they realized it was unlikely to see more in the future. Together they made a generous decision. They contacted Skidmore and offered their real estate as a campaign gift—when Skidmore sells the property, it can keep the proceeds. Among the bonuses of this real-property donation: Ruth is spared from the capital-gains taxes she’d owe if she sold the land herself, and she can also take a significant charitable income-tax deduction.

Jane Baldwin Henzerling ’97 hasn’t been out of college long, but she’s already arranged some long-term plans and priorities. Having worked for Teach for America and other nonprofits, she recently took on the leadership of a new charter school. She and husband Daniel also had a baby, Samuel, about a year ago. Thinking about all that’s new in her life, Henzerling made some important decisions, including writing Skidmore into her will. She knew she wasn’t in a financial position to make a large donation on the spot—or anytime soon—but the provision in her will was a way to pledge her support to her alma mater. Both as a gesture and as a genuine financial commitment, it’s a creative, long-term demonstration of how important and valuable Skidmore is to her.

Former trustee Marge O’Meara Storrs ’57 is regularly seen on campus working in the Alumni Memorial Garden that she helped establish, and she and husband Ted are also regulars at dinner events with the students who are aided by their scholarship funds. Long devoted to supporting scholarship aid through their annual fund gifts, the Storrses wanted to find a way to step up that support during the campaign. After weighing their options and goals, they found that a bequest commitment, which is easy to complete with simple paperwork and requires no immediate outlay of funds, was a perfect solution. Their bequest will establish an endowed scholarship fund, a mechanism to ensure that their aid for Skidmore students will continue in perpetuity.

To mark her upcoming 50th reunion, Jean Sillick Robertson ’60 is issuing a clear statement about the importance of making a Skidmore education accessible to bright, ambitious students who need financial aid. A longtime Skidmore donor and volunteer, Robertson has now made a bequest provision in order to continue the funding of the Robertson scholarship, which she and her husband, Dick, started several years ago. In today’s unstable economic environment, she understands the challenges that Skidmore is facing, including the tough task of forecasting revenues and expenditures to develop year-by-year budget plans. So in addition to arranging for Skidmore in her will, she has generously increased the amount of her annual fund gift and made a pledge over the next five years. —SR