Deferred Gift Annuities--John Gould '61
by John W. Gould '61
Going to Haverford seems now, after fifty years, inevitable. History often gives us such a specious sense of its inexorable march. At the time, however, I did not feel predestined for Haverford. Like most of us, I took the usual college tour: Harvard, Wesleyan, Williams, Swarthmore and Haverford. Among Haverford's attractions were Quakerism, small size, beautiful campus, the Honor Code and an interview with the god-like Archibald Macintosh '21 who would serve in many roles, including twice as acting president, during his long tenure at the College. I wanted to attend Haverford, and with the benefit of financial aid, I was able to do so.
What I did not understand when I arrived on campus was what a different kind of collegiate experience I would have. Returning home for Christmas vacation in my freshman year, I discovered that my old high school friends were partying, drinking, picking the fraternity or sorority they would pledge and generally spending a lot less time in the library than I did. In comparison to their liberated fun-filled lives, I felt as though I had entered a monastery, albeit a Quaker one.
Haverford turned out to be very small indeed and, in its way, a happier place than I first thought. Though I regret an absence of diversity and the enrichment it brings, within the narrow confines of our class I never had met such varied, distinctive and different individuals in my sheltered suburban public school life. And they were all smart. Those freshman bull sessions were extraordinary. Despite our rough and ready male culture, we seriously explored The Meaning of Life.
While we may have been a thin slice of the general population, we were exposed to an extraordinary range of intellectual vistas. I majored in History and continued to study the subject in graduate school at Yale, which I found far easier than Haverford. I spent much more time at Bryn Mawr courting Judy, my bride to be—and she spent much more time in New Haven—than would have been possible while facing the rigors of college.
Fast forward fifty years. I've had a rewarding career in higher education, foundation work and nonprofit consulting, including working for Haverford for ten years as Director of Alumni Relations, Associate Vice President, Secretary of the College and teaching in the History Department. (Some people get out of Haverford after four years; it took me fourteen.) I'm still courting Judy even though she married me 47 years ago. After that much time, one fully appreciates the importance of anniversaries, and so with my 50th Reunion approaching, I began to think seriously about making a meaningful gift as a way to thank the College for what it has meant to me.
Unfortunately, I had no idea what type of gift would be best for Haverford or me at this stage of life. I knew there was an array of deferred giving opportunities from the brochure I'd received, but I needed help figuring out which was right for me. I called Director of Gift Planning Steve Kavanaugh and asked him for help and advice in simple terms. We met, talked a bit, and then he provided some illustrations of how I could help the College by creating a Deferred Gift Annuity. As he explained it, there were several enticing benefits: I could make a larger gift than I thought possible, receive a tax deduction and receive a regular income stream until Judy and I are gone. The actuarial tables suggest that I will go first, but she will keep getting the income for the rest of her life, and that is a comfort.
Just as I knew Haverford was the place for me so many years ago, I knew a Deferred Gift Annuity was the right fit as well. I am able to spread out the gift payments over two years (and receive two income tax deductions) in order to create the annuity. And, because I elected to defer the income from these gifts for a few years, I'll receive that income at a higher fixed rate. When the annuity ends, the remaining assets will be used to create an endowed scholarship in memory of my mother at Haverford.
What's not to like about this arrangement? It is literally the gift that will keep on giving to Haverford, and to Judy and me. It gives me a chance to say, "Thanks, Haverford, for giving me financial aid along the way to make it possible for me to attend. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help future students in the same way my predecessors helped me."
I'm so glad I called Steve and for his guidance. This very positive experience reaffirmed what a good place Haverford really is. As I approach my 50th, I am grateful to Haverford for its challenging academic and intellectual training. Now, after all these years, I think what I value most is the "invisible college".
Rufus Jones wrote in Haverford College: A History and an Interpretation, "It is not buildings and grounds that make a college. A president by himself...cannot make a great vital centre of education, culture and discipline without the cooperative help of an important body of scholars and teachers who are the actual ‘transmitters' of the institution's higher life. Haverford has been fortunate at all periods of its history in the quality and type of its ‘transmitters.' They are the builders of the invisible college. They with others are the creators of its spirit and its ideals. Visitors can seldom see the real Haverford that we know, because the essential thing about it is ‘viewless'—it can be felt but not seen."
To this day, I still feel it.