‘Banner Year’ for Legacy Gifts to Cal Poly Humboldt

Oct 24, 2022

The Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation launched its Donor Appreciation Week by celebrating a special group of individuals who have recently made new estate gifts.

Students sitting together

These donors, through their planned gifts, are creating a lasting legacy to provide a positive and meaningful educational experience for Humboldt students. They are all now recognized as members of the 1913 Legacy Society.

Today’s event highlighted the generosity of all planned gift donors, who include alumni, faculty, and community members. Over the last year, these donors committed nearly $6 million in estate gifts.

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With this legacy giving, donors designate all or a portion of their estate to support the University. This allows donors to commit to the future gift, regardless of current income, through wealth they have accumulated in their lifetime,  and ensures that future generations of students benefit from their generosity and legacy.  

Donors who give in this way can choose to support scholarships, specific programs, hands-on learning opportunities, and more. Most consult closely with staff in University Advancement to ensure their gift supports the area they are most passionate about.

This has been a banner year for planned  gifts, and I think it is because donors are excited about Cal Poly Humboldt, and about it becoming the state’s third polytechnic university,”  says Robin Smith (‘78, Nursing), who is the incoming Chair of the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation Board. “That designation has inspired many alumni like me to consider what we can do now to help Humboldt students for the next 100 years and beyond.”

A former member of the swim team, Smith has committed $1.7 million through an estate gift as well as current gifts to support athletics, campus recreation, and Humboldt’s RN to BSN Nursing program.

“Donors like Robin and others who have made these estate gifts have set an amazing example, and we can’t thank them enough,” says Frank Whitlatch, Vice President of University Advancement and Executive Director of the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation. “Each of these gifts will create a lasting and positive legacy.”

Other planned gifts from the past year include:

  • Jerry and Gisela Rohde gave more than $2 million through a planned bequest to the Cal Poly Humboldt Library and its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  
  • To recruit and retain the best and brightest California high school math and science students, Forestry instructor Kevin Boston (‘84, Forestry) committed more than $1 million to establish the Kevin D. Boston, JD Scholarship Endowment.  The scholarship will be awarded to Forestry majors pursuing a concentration in Forestry Operations. Recipients will receive a scholarship of 50 percent of current tuition for all four years.
  • With a $1.5 million gift from Professor Emeritus Dennis K. Walker (‘60, Botany), the University’s iconic greenhouse, which bears his name, will hire a permanent assistant manager. That position helps support Cal Poly Humboldt’s efforts to provide students year-round access to a comprehensive and unique collection of plant specimens. 

You can make a big impact with a future gift to Cal Poly Humboldt. Contact the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation by emailing giving.humboldt.edu or calling  (707) 826-5200.

About the Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation

The Cal Poly Humboldt Foundation provides expertise, fiduciary oversight, and advocacy to increase charitable giving and manage the endowment. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors dedicated to building support for the University across a variety of constituencies who recognize the imperative to expand philanthropy.