Chuck Kennedy '51 B.A., '56 B.D., '61 Ph.D.: A Lifelong Commitment to Church and Academy

By Carla Dietz Carroll '08 M.Div.

With a long career in academia, a strong commitment to the United Church of Christ, and a wide range of interests, Chuck Kennedy has no shortage of institutions that he might have chosen as the recipient of a substantial gift. But Kennedy, '51 B.A., '56 B.D., '61 Ph.D., chose Yale Divinity School.

Michah Luce '07 M.A.R., left, with Chuck Kennedy"My years at Yale were made possible by the generosity of others who provided the scholarships and fellowships that financed my education," said Kennedy during a visit to the YDS campus for the 50 th reunion that he chaired in October 2006. "Over the years I have made regular contributions to the Alumni Fund, but I have wanted to do something specifically related to scholarship aid for future divinity students"

Kennedy, a professor emeritus of religion from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, chose to make help the Divinity School by making a planned gift, also called a charitable gift annuity.

A planned gift amounts to a simple contract between the donor and Yale where, in exchange for cash, securities or other assets, Yale agrees to pay one or two recipients a fixed annual sum for life. For most donors, the gift is partially tax-free. And, depending on who the recipient is, it may be possible to spread out capital gains taxes over many years.

In talking about his decision to make the gift, Kennedy, an affable man still involved in teaching, spoke mostly of the formation he received at YDS and his enthusiasm for the direction the school has taken in the half century since.

"My support for YDS in particular among my Yale loyalties comes from my experiences with the faculty over the years," said Kennedy, who until 2006 served as the Class of 1956 Class Secretary. "Its affiliation with the University sustains a creative tension with other academic disciplines, a curriculum that encourages a broadening of faith experiences from alternative worship services to interfaith dialogue, and a student body that will continue to provide the leaders of our faith communities."

Kennedy, who has retired with his wife, Virginia, to Newbury, NH, likes the practical benefits of making a planned gift. With it, he and his wife receive quarterly payments and, as they get older, need not worry about probate issues.