athryn Wiecking ’53 first came to Skidmore all the way from St. Paul, Minn. Not so unusual these days for the very national—even international—institution that Skidmore has become. But in the fall of 1949, the vast majority of Skidmore students hailed from nearby New England and mid-Atlantic states.
In many ways, once Wiecking arrived she never left. Classmate and close friend Tillie Jones Neri ’53 says, “Skidmore changed Kathy’s life—and her outlook on life.” So when Wiecking passed away last year after a long illness, perhaps it’s no surprise she left a legacy that will change the lives of many Skidmore students far into the future. Her bequest to Skidmore has been valued at slightly over $6.2 million, making it the largest estate gift (and one of the largest single gifts of any kind) in Skidmore’s history.
Wiecking, who was a buyer for Bloomingdale’s and Jordan Marsh, never married and had no close family, but several of her Skidmore classmates became lifelong trusted friends. As Neri says, “In many ways, the Skidmore family became Kathy’s family.” Indeed Wiecking also volunteered for Skidmore, co-chairing her class’s fortieth-reunion fundraising efforts. A consistent, generous donor to the annual fund, Kathy also endowed a fund to provide vital scholarship resources to deserving Skidmore students, with a preference to students from her home state of Minnesota. A portion of her bequest will be added to this scholarship fund—thus enlarging those Skidmore “family” connections even more.
Recently the college has received several bequests, in part because it has reached the point in its history, and in the age and means of its alumni, where an increase in bequests is to be expected. The Josephine Young Case Associates giving society recognizes those who include the college in their estate plans and encourages others to consider such commitments.
It was also this winter that Skidmore received an extremely generous—and unexpected—bequest from the estate of Louise Lueder ’35. Her bequest totals $5.4 million, one of the largest such gifts in the college’s history. Lueder’s will directed that half of her bequest be placed into Skidmore’s pooled life-income fund, where it will provide lifetime income for certain of her relatives, and that the other half be given to Skidmore as an unrestricted donation to be used at the discretion of the college.
Still another large bequest was received recently from the estate of Elizabeth Weatherby McCormick ’32, who left Skidmore $2.4 million to establish an endowed scholarship fund. And the college has been notified of a bequest gift of $819,000 from the longtime and much beloved director of Skidmore’s food service Jean Aikins, for whom Aikins Dining Hall was named when she retired in 1998.
When members of the extended Skidmore family have the foresight and generosity to include the college in their estate plans, They provide essential resources that will enable Skidmore to grow and flourish for generations to come.