The Heywood Society luncheon during Reunion weekend is a highlight for many returning alumni. Every year, members gather in Great Hall to hear how planned gifts make a difference in the lives of Carleton students. The program also includes a performance by the Singing Knights, who have the happy occasion of joining members for lunch and conversation prior to their time up front.
At this year's luncheon, no one knew better what that's like than newly-welcomed Heywood Society member Justin Schoolmaster '03, a former bass/baritone in the group. The young alumnus let the College know in early June about a will provision he had set up shortly following graduation in 2003. His motivation for this planned gift? In part, it was what he heard at the Heywood Society luncheons he attended as a Singing Knight.
"Without being at those luncheons, a will provision would not have been on my mind," says Schoolmaster. "Listening to Heywood members, I realized that Carleton was an important enough aspect of their lives that they wanted to ensure its role for future students with resources that could have been given to their own families or other organizations. I thought how really selfless that is, and how it embodies Carleton's character. It was powerful."
Schoolmaster, who now works in development at Harvard University, emphasizes that a will provision for someone his age is not about how much a person can give; rather, it's stems from knowing that, over time, Carleton will remain valued and respected—enough to make it a part of another person's life.
He says, "At the time of my graduation, something inside of me knew that this place was going to mean a great deal to me for the rest of my life. That was not going to change. I believe in what Carleton does to help students figure out their academic options, explore the world, and have a great time in the process."
Recognizing that he is a uniquely young member of the Heywood Society, Schoolmaster doesn't view his testimentary plans as premature. "We hear more and more about the importance of early planning for retirement. It's not an odd step from that type of long-term planning to considering how philanthropy fits into your intentions," he says. "There's no reason not to commit early to supporting the next generation of Carleton students, especially when you know your feelings won't change."