Celebrating a Milestone When he arrived on campus in 1954, it would have been hard for Farris Hotchkiss ’58 to imagine celebrating his upcoming 60th reunion.
“Since I enrolled at W&L in 1954, I have had a real love affair with the school, and I wanted to do what I could for it within my means.”
Farris Hotchkiss has enjoyed a storied and mutually supportive history with the university. As an undergraduate, he started the Student Service Society under the guidance of legendary dean Frank Gilliam, who wanted students to help make the campus more hospitable to visitors and help with campus events. Hotchkiss describes his relationship with Gilliam as “magical.” “For some reason he and I were meant to work together,” he reflects.
After graduating, Hotchkiss went to Atlanta to work in the printing and publishing field for almost a decade, but he continued to do volunteer work in admissions for the university. In 1965, Dean Gilliam invited him back to fill in for Lew John ’58, on a two-year leave of absence, as assistant dean of students, assistant director of admissions and director of financial aid. “There was no guarantee after those two years, but I took the gamble,” he recalls.
When John returned to his position, W&L’s new president Robert E.R. Huntley ’50, ’57L invited Hotchkiss to join the newly formed development office. “It was the greatest career move I could have made,” admits Hotchkiss, who served in the development and university relations fields from 1966 – 2001. “It was my privilege and a lot of pleasure.”
Hotchkiss rose through the ranks to become director of development, then vice president of university relations, as well as secretary of the university and senior assistant to the president. He has also served in numerous volunteer roles as a member of the alumni community and in the Lexington community at large. He is a trustee and former senior warden for Grace Episcopal Church and one of the founding members of the Kendal at Lexington Board of Directors, in addition to serving for many years as a member of the board of the local hospital.
“Since I enrolled at W&L in 1954, I have had a real love affair with the school, and I wanted to do what I could for it within my means,” continues Hotchkiss, who has chaired the 1749 Circle, which recognizes loyal donors who give to W&L year after year. Last year Hotchkiss took advantage of the IRA Charitable Rollover for his annual giving. “At my age you are required to take a minimum distribution from your IRA, so it was a handy and convenient way to make my gift.”
The IRA Charitable Rollover provision enables donors who are 70 and ½ or older to distribute annually up to $100,000 from a Traditional or Roth IRA to Washington and Lee University or other 501C3 organization. Implemented by the IRA administrator at the request of the donor, the distribution bypasses the donor’s taxable income and qualifies for the required minimum distribution. Since the IRA Charitable Rollover does not produce a charitable deduction, it delivers tax savings regardless of whether or not the donor itemizes charitable deductions.
Hotchkiss and his wife, Judy, also made a bequest provision for the university in their wills at his 50th reunion a decade ago. “Judy and I made our bequest commitment when I was celebrating my 50th reunion. That reunion of course was a high water mark,” he observes. “An estate provision allowed me to give more than I could have by simply writing a check at that time.” When the couple made their bequest, Hotchkiss had been working with people at Washington and Lee whom he admired. He had great confidence in how the university was being guided and nurtured and wanted to do his part to help it continue to grow and thrive.
For more information on bequests and beneficiary designations, or IRA Charitable Rollovers, please contact Margie Lippard in the Office of Gift Planning at mlippard@edu or visit the Gift Planning page on W&L’s website.