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Patricia Hearns '78 Says Thanks With a Gift in Her Will

Patricia Hearns and her classmates

Patricia Hearns '78 with her classmates at their 40th Reunion. She is in the back with the pink scarf, fifth from the right.

"I feel like I have a Saint Michael's family," Patricia Hearns '78, says about her group of classmates still tightly connected after 40 years. "I really feel that's my biggest takeaway from Saint Michael's—my lifelong friendships. We've stayed closely connected and they've seen me through thick and thin."

When asked why she chose to remember Saint Michael's in her will, Patricia says, "It was the easiest way for me to give gratitude to the College. And, to let my children and family know how much Saint Michael's has meant to me."

After high school, Patricia wanted to go across the country to California. Thanks to her dad, alumnus William Morrissey '48, he convinced her to give college a try and she started as a first year at Saint Michael's in the second semester.

When she arrived on campus in January, she was immediately embraced.

"I lived on the first floor of Ryan Hall and everyone was so warm and kind," she says. "I cherished the camaraderie of my floor mates and most of us returned to celebrate our 40th Reunion this past June."

She loved her time at Saint Michael's—both she and her father remember Fr. Ray Doherty. She appreciated Professor Luis Quiroz as a Spanish major and Professor Roy Kennedy, who "gave me a lifelong appreciation of the arts."

After college graduation, it was a Saint Michael's alumna who got Patricia her first job at Merrill Lynch in New York City. Patricia went on to recruit a few other Saint Michael's alumni who also started their careers there. She stayed in investment banking for 11 years until she took time out to raise a family.

These days, Patricia takes pleasure in being a parent and volunteering in the community. She is most proud of her three children who have "become good, kind people."

Patricia especially appreciated her Catholic liberal arts education. "How else can someone like myself with majors in Spanish and art go on to obtain a brokerage license and work on Wall Street? It is a liberal arts education that supports our capacity to think critically and adapt."

Her advice to new students is to study what you love as "that is where you'll end up anyway."

"Follow your path if you find it," Patricia says. "A well-rounded education at Saint Michael's is going to take you a long way."

Like Patricia, if you wish to pave the way for future students to get a Saint Michael's education, please contact Ms. Phung Pham at 802-654-2646 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Saint Michael's College a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

“I give, bequeath, and devise to Saint Michael’s College, an educational organization established by law at One Winooski Park, Box 256, Colchester, Vermont 05439, whose Federal Tax ID number is 03-0179403 [here follows the dollar amount or percentage of the gift, or an accurate description of the securities, insurance policies, retirement funds, or the amount or percentage of the residual estate, or the real estate or other assets given].”

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Saint Michael's College or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Saint Michael's College as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Saint Michael's College as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Saint Michael's College where you agree to make a gift to Saint Michael's College and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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