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Meet our Wheeler Society Members

Imogene Bruner Helm '50 (Deferred Charitable Gift Annuity)

Imogene Bruner Helm '50

Giving back to William Smith College is a natural thing for me to do because I have a strong loyalty to my College. The quality education I received at William Smith in the years 1946 to 1950 has enriched me my entire life. The study of Western Civilization broadened my outlook then and continues to do so. The professors who designed and taught that 30-hour courseas well as many of my other courseswere giants!

I have made HWS a philanthropic priority annually for more than 20 years. But when I decided to make a larger, planned gift to the Colleges about seven years ago, a deferred charitable gift annuity was the logical option for me. By locking in a future annuity rate then, I was able to secure a very attractive rate for me nowmore than 9 percentwhile making a significant contribution to the Colleges.

I designated my gift to pre-existing endowed scholarship funds, one named in honor of the late Professor of English Katy Cook L.H.D.'84, and the other named in honor of Professor Emeritus of Music Lindsay Lafford P'65, P'71, L.H.D. '87. I could have directed the funds wherever I wanted, but it was important to me to pay tribute to two individuals who had lasting influence on my life.

Katy Cook was my adviser, and I had tremendous respect for her. As a first year student, I was intimidated by her, but full of admiration. Four years later, I wasn't quite so intimidated, but my high opinion of her had only grown. Lindsay Lafford, I loved dearly. He had a great sense of humor and really nurtured my love of music. Music has sustained me throughout my life; it consoles and uplifts me in times of sorrow and joy. I thank Lindsay Lafford for that.

I chose to defer payment from the annuity for five years, knowing the additional income would serve my needs better at that time. I welcome the modest check from HWS twice a year; it reminds me, each time, of a special place and the extraordinary people I knew in my developing years. I am grateful that I can give back a tangible gift to my College to further the fine education offered to young people of today.

Imogene Bruner Helm graduated from William Smith in 1950 with a degree in English. She sang in the Schola Cantorum all four years and in St. John's Motet Choir for three years and played flute in the College orchestra. A retired reading teacher and writing instructor, Imogene celebrated 40 years in the Tucson Flute Club in November 2010.

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