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Planned Giving

Alumnus, Jeff Hamilton ’83, Helps Students Achieve Their Dreams

Jeff Hamilton's dog, Zoe

Jeff (not pictured) with his dog, Zoe, on one of their favorite fall hikes in Leelanau County

When Jeff Hamilton ’83 thinks back to high school, he remembers how the college he once hoped to attend didn’t turn out to be what he expected after taking a campus tour.

“I was so set on going there that I hadn’t even visited until my senior year in high school,” he said. “When I did, I wasn’t pleased.”

That experience left him scrambling. He searched through catalogs that listed potential matches for his prospective endeavors. The good news was that he found Kalamazoo College.

“I had a short set of criteria I wanted, and Kalamazoo College was one of a half-dozen schools or so that fit them,” Jeff said. “I went and visited on a beautiful early spring day and loved the campus, loved the people I met with, and was taken with the K-Plan. I was fortunate enough to be accepted and things worked out from there. It was a serendipitous event after I quite honestly didn’t do a great job in the college-search process.”

When Jeff took a first-year calculus course at K, Professor T.J. Smith got him excited to be a math major. He also participated in intramurals as a student and studied abroad in Strasbourg, France. “If students are looking for a rigorous, well-rounded academic experience where they can meet a variety of people with a variety of life experiences and perspectives, and with professors who are committed to teaching, Kalamazoo College is a great choice,” Jeff said.

Jeff now is enjoying his retirement after a career mostly in consulting in cities including Chicago and Detroit. He lives in Leelanau County, Michigan, with his wife, Diane, and volunteers for local organizations including one that mentors and advises small businesses, and one that helps people in the county receive the resources they need.

Through that, Jeff has maintained a relationship with K, first in helping the College recruit prospective students, and then in donating to it.

“I have always been a donor to the Kalamazoo College Fund,” Jeff said. “I trust the College to determine how to best utilize my unrestricted gifts. Two of my classmates also spearheaded an effort for the Class of 1983 to create an endowed fund for students to study abroad. I hadn’t realized some students were choosing not to participate in that formative element of the K-Plan because they needed to continue their work-study job on campus, so I was happy to help there.”

More recently, though, Jeff became a member of the Stetson Society. Stetson Society members guarantee the future health and excellence of the K learning experience by generously making planned gift arrangements to support the College. By including K as a beneficiary of their will, trust, life insurance policy, retirement assets, or gift annuities, they create a legacy that will impact students for decades to come.

A planned gift can make a K education more affordable through scholarship support, provide access to every element of the K-Plan, establish endowed chairs for professors, and provide for the upkeep and improvement of K’s campus. Members of the Stetson Society are listed annually in the Kalamazoo College Donor Honor Roll, either by name or anonymously, and are often invited to attend special Kalamazoo College events.

Jeff saw an opportunity to further help the institution that once helped him by becoming a Stetson Society member and is happy to ensure the College’s long-term success in preparing students for careers and lives of service to the world.

“The fundamental reasons why I support the College are still the same. I'm grateful for the opportunity K gave me and it continues to be a place that requires and is worthy of support. I know I won't be able to give every year forever, so I want to make a meaningful final gift to enhance the College’s impact on students, as well as the impact those students will have on the world as alumni.”

You, too, can join the Stetson Society and make a meaningful difference for future K students by including a gift to the College in your estate plan. Please contact Andy Miller at 269.337.7327 or to learn more.

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