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For those who care deeply about Hamilton, their story — their legacy — includes planning for the College’s future.

I knew it was time to give back and to pay it forward so the next generation of students could go to Hamilton on scholarships and acquire the set of skills that will help them succeed and thrive.

John O’Reilly ’80
“I was able to go to Hamilton because I was given a scholarship.” John O’Reilly ’80, who grew up with five siblings in Nassau County, worked summers as a short order cook to cover the balance of his tuition. He had an interest in environmental science and came to Hamilton to major in Biology. “I wanted a job where I could wear jeans and flannel shirts and hike.” 

On the Hill, John worked in the athletic department and ran the pub (then in the basement of Commons), and he credits these jobs with introducing him to lifelong friendships, great adventures - even his future career path. “Being the bartender, people would always come down and have a beer with me.” On one such occasion, John was lamenting his entomology lab, and his doubts about his potential as an environmental scientist, when his friend suggested meeting his lab requirement with a childhood development course instead.

“It’s that ability to sit down with people and have conversations and help each other figure things out at Hamilton that got me to where I am.” Through the childhood development class, which involved experiential learning in the on-campus childcare center, John decided to pursue a career in pediatrics, going on to medical school after Hamilton. He is now chief of the general pediatrics division for Baystate Health in Springfield, Massachusetts, and sees patients at the hospital’s clinic in a low-income neighborhood. 

Over the years, John gave consistently to the Hamilton Fund, but didn’t see the potential to make a larger contribution. His outlook changed when he received a letter from his class president about their 40th reunion gift, the Class of 1980 Phyllis Breland Scholarship fund. “I knew it was time to give back and to pay it forward so the next generation of students could go to Hamilton on scholarships and acquire the set of skills that will help them succeed and thrive.”

John contacted the Advancement Office to explore his options, and once again it was a conversation with a Hamiltonian that helped him take next steps. John worked with Director of Gift Planning Ben Madonia ’74 to arrange a future contribution from his IRA by naming the Class of 1980 Phyllis Breland Scholarship as the recipient of a portion of his retirement assets on his beneficiary designation form. “I do not have a lot of disposable income to write a big check, but Hamilton made it simple and easy to donate to the College from my retirement funds.” 

In the scholarship, John saw the perfect reason to give back; with the IRA, he found the perfect way to make it happen.
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Name Hamilton as a Beneficiary of your Retirement Plan

Naming Hamilton College as a beneficiary of your retirement plan is the most tax efficient, and flexible way to make a legacy gift to the College and support a purpose that is meaningful to you. As a public charity, Hamilton will receive 100% of the value of your intended gift, allowing you to leave other tax-friendly assets to your heirs. Simply update your beneficiary designation form online or with your retirement plan administrator - it's that easy!

Ways to Give

Susan Skerritt K'77, P'11

Donor Advised Funds

You can establish a charitable giving account managed by Hamilton College from which you can recommend grants to Hamilton and other qualified public charitable organizations.

Jeff and Claudia Little

Charitable Lead Trusts

This gift vehicle allows you to distribute assets to heirs at reduced transfer tax cost. You can establish a charitable lead trust, funded with cash or other assets, to provide payments, either fixed or variable, to Hamilton for a given number of years.

Because Hamilton [Endures]

The Board of Trustees has authorized including future estate gifts in the Because Hamilton campaign as a separate subtotal, for individuals 70 years of age and older. This change, consistent with national standards, allows Hamilton to record, as well as recognize, the bequest intentions of donors during their lifetimes. If you’ve made Hamilton College a beneficiary, please let us know by sending us a memorandum of understanding (PDF).

IRA Charitable Contributions


Did you know that during your lifetime you can make contributions to Hamilton through your IRA? Everyone age 70 1/2 or older of the can benefit from planning a Qualified Charitable Distributions as early as possible in the calendar year.

Let’s Talk

Contact Fred Rogers at 315-859-4640 or jfrogers@hamilton.edu to discuss how the College can help you with your gift planning needs. Please choose Hamilton College to tell your story and share your legacy.

Contact Information

Fred Rogers

Director of Gift Planning
315-859-4640 jfrogers@hamilton.edu
Hamilton College Joel Bristol Associates — 1996-2021

The Joel Bristol Associates

Inspired by a significant estate gift from William MacLaren Bristol, Jr., Class of 1917, which established several scholarships and fellowships that continue to enrich the education of Hamilton students today, the Joel Bristol Associates was established in 1996 to formally recognize and thank those who have included the College in their estate plans.

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