By Rosalie Yerkes Figge
Immortality is not the name of a new iris or even a reference to my beloved rebloomers. The type of immortality I have in mind is a legacy—a lasting memorial, a gift that keeps on giving, a tribute to one’s love of his or her alma mater. Thoughts of immortality come to mind when attending a college reunion, as they did when I attended my 70-year college reunion. Only 7 of the 93 alumnae still receiving mail were able to attend.
I had been receiving junk mail asking that this organization and that be remembered in my will! I was not receptive, since there are many children, grandchildren, and great-grands who have priorities for my pittance.
However, I realized that as a nonagenarian, it was imperative to face facts. There are those who are reluctant to think far in the future. But—and this is not just for senior citizens!—everyone needs a will. A revocable living trust can also be considered for more complicated assets and planning needs. Think about what gives you pleasure outside of your family and make a place for that cause in your will or trust. (You can also irrevocably include Colorado College in your plans by establishing a life income gift such as a charitable remainder unitrust or charitable gift annuity, just as I have done.)
For many of us, our special love is a college. (I also love my irises, and I tell my children that if they think I’m dying, to put me out in the garden—it always revives my soul!) How much more personal it is to remember the college in our wills rather than some group with which we have no personal association.
Your donations to CC—now or later—can be designated for the general fund or for a special purpose, such as an academic department, scholarships, athletics or the library. Years from now, when your rhizomes have been divided dozens of times, when you are no longer on this earth, your gift will be strengthening the future of Colorado College. The benefits of your legacy donation will be far-reaching. That’s immortality that everyone can achieve.
Rosalie kindly shared this special story with us in the fall of 2002. Rosalie's deceased husband, Frank H.J. Figge '27, a biology major at Colorado College, served as chairman of the department of anatomy at the University of Maryland Medical School and was a distinguished author. In the early 1970s, the Figge family established an award in Frank's honor to recognize outstanding premedical students at CC. An alumna of Gaucher College, Rosalie was also a generous donor to Colorado College through its life-income giving program. She was a devoted fan of iris gardening and served as an officer of the American Iris Society. She continued to travel to annual meetings of the Society up until a few years before her death in April 2006.
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