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Office of Trusts, Estates, and Gift Planning
Cornell University
130 E Seneca Street, Suite 400
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 1-800-481-1865
Fax: 607-254-1204
Email:
gift_planning@cornell.edu

Disclaimer

Multiple Goals + 2 Cornellians = Many Winners

donor_15.pngJust as A.C. ’58 and John L. ’56 Riley had diverse working lives, they have different philosophies about the best ways to support Cornell.

A.C., a former mayor and city supervisor of Saratoga Springs, New York, tends to favor annual fund and reunion giving to the College of Arts and Sciences. “I’m a big advocate for fund-raising for the educational services Cornell provides,” says the former regional board member for United Way and former national board member for Planned Parenthood. “I give to help achieve excellence.”

“By contrast,” John says, “My primary focus is on scholarship for the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.” As the beneficiary of an “almost full scholarship,” he wants to repay that to Cornell.

“I’m repaying Cornell for allowing me to attend on a scholarship,” says the retired architect, who partnered with three other Cornellians in a firm in Hartford, Conn., for about 37 years. “I want other students to enjoy the advantages and benefits that a Cornell education provided for my life.”

At Cornell, A.C. majored in linguistics with a Spanish focus. As “an average student” she didn’t fully appreciate such experiences as having Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov as an instructor until after graduation. This realization underscores her commitment to “hiring and supporting the best faculty to achieve excellence” for the benefit of future students.

“Cornell made me a more intellectually active adult, with curiosity, thoroughness, and good rational thinking that has served me well through the years,” she says. A.C. served as the gift-planning co-chair for her 40th Reunion and plans to be active in her 50th Reunion this year.

Coming from the small town of Watkins Glen, John found Cornell “a heady experience” where the architecture students also socialized with their professors and such campus visitors as Buckminster Fuller. “The architecture school was a very warm, strong base from which I could venture out and experience the wider university,” he says.

John played trombone in the Big Red marching and concert bands—“a helluva experience.” He remembers traveling to a Michigan football game by first taking the train to Grand Central Station in New York City and then the New York Central to Michigan.

The Rileys were reacquainted and married in 1995. Combined, they have eight children (three graduated from Cornell) and 12 grandchildren. The Rileys have included bequests for Cornell in their wills, and John has also given via trusts, real estate, and IRA assets. While the tax benefits are attractive, both see their Cornell gifts as “investments”—both figuratively and literally.