In honor of October being National Estate Planning Awareness Month, beginning on Oct. 1, the U is kicking off Legacy Giving Awareness Month. The university has a long history of honoring the legacy of those individuals who have included gifts from their estate plans. Whether it be a gift from a will to establish a scholarship, or beneficiary designation from a retirement account to support research, legacy gifts have been an integral part of the university’s history since its founding.
“It’s my pleasure to help kickoff the U’s inaugural Legacy Giving Awareness Month. We are grateful to the members of our John R. Park Legacy Society for their commitment to the University of Utah,” says Taylor Randall, President of the University of Utah. “It takes great foresight to plan for a legacy of impact. Our legacy donors understand that their gifts to the university will have a significant future impact on the lives of our students and community.”
Upon the passing of the U’s first president, John R. Park, the university received his entire estate.
“In as much as my life work has been devoted to the educational interests of my state, and mindful of its future welfare, I hereby direct that the whole of my estate shall be converted into available funds by my executor at a time when my executor shall deem it most expedient, and that said funds shall be transferred and given to the University of Utah.” – John R. Park
From this legacy gift an endowed fellowship was created for graduate students and/or others employed as teachers by the university to pursue courses of study in educational institutions abroad or outside the university. Originally established in 1922, this endowment is still providing financial support to our future educations almost 100 years later.
“Legacy giving is special, as it represents both a means by which donors may commit resources as well as an enduring confidence that charitable giving extending beyond one’s lifetime will create rewarding and sustainable funding sources for future generations,” said Heidi DeWitt Woodbury, vice president for University Advancement. “I am always honored and deeply appreciative when meeting legacy giving donors and learning of their commitments because I know they have placed great trust in the University of Utah to steward and utilize their gifts to the greatest extent possible.”
Park left his entire library of 3,400 volumes to the university. Included in his library were several rare and valuable volumes of the ancient classics, and a copy of the “Latin Vulgate,” published in the 16th century. Some of the volumes in Park’s legacy gift are still a part of Marriott Library’s rare book collection today.
Throughout the month of October, University Advancement will take time to give extra thanks and honor all those who have so generously included the university in their estate plans over the years. Legacy gifts are a vital asset allowing the university plan for the long-term needs of its charitable mission. Several wonderful stories have been gathered and posted to legacygiving.utah.edu from donors whose legacy gifts have had an incredible impact on our students, our faculty and university.