Don Russell '48 credits his admission to Bowdoin to the fact that so few young men were left at home at the height of World War II. "If the College hadn't needed students so badly, I probably wouldn't have gotten in," he says with a self-deprecating laugh. Hardly true, as Bowdoin was fortunate to have attracted Don. Nonetheless, one year after he enrolled, the war effort took him, too. He spent what would have been his sophomore year in the Navy, but set his sights on graduating with his class, and, with some extra summer school studies, did just that.
Don brought the same sense of dedication to his career in the insurance industry and to his retirement vocation - golf. His wife, Joanne, will attest to the strength of his passion for the links as well as for his alma mater. Even on Florida courses, he seeks out other Bowdoin alumni who share these passions.
Throughout his career, Don has served the common good and the College in many capacities, including class agent, special gifts chair, planned giving committee chair, campaign volunteer, and reunion organizer. He feels strongly that the privilege of a Bowdoin education comes with a responsibility to future generations. "When a student attends Bowdoin, the tuition covers only a portion of the real cost. The balance comes from the endowment, so what better purpose for doing estate planning than giving something back to support the endowment?"
Over the years, Don has supported that principle not only with regular contributions to the Alumni Fund, but also with a contribution to one of the College's Pooled Life Income Funds. He also gave an oil painting by Sam Osgood that had been in his family for generations to the Museum of Art. More recently, Don established two substantial Charitable Remainder Unitrusts. The trusts benefit from professional management, and Don and his daughters will receive income for the rest of their lives. At least seventy percent of the remainder of each trust will come to Bowdoin; Don's daughters may determine the beneficiaries of the remaining thirty percent. Recognizing the importance to the College of unrestricted funds, Don chose to make his gift available for any purpose.
Bowdoin is lucky that Don chose to spend his college years under the pines. In the decades since his graduation, Don has been generous with his time and talents. His decision to fund the Charitable Remainder Trusts demonstrates his passion for the College and its educational mission. The end result is a hole-in-one for his family and for Bowdoin.