Pitt honors future donors

By Emily Riley

Pitt recently inducted more than 60 individuals and groups into the newly established… Pitt recently inducted more than 60 individuals and groups into the newly established Brackenridge Circle, a society of donors who plan to make financial contributions to the University exceeding $1 million.

The society will recognize donors who assured their planned deferred gifts through either bequests, trusts, life insurance or retirement plan assets — all typically considered safe and reliable forms of investments that might not be available until after a donor retires or passes away.

The society recognized its inaugural class early last month with an awards ceremony at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Pitt Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Albert J. Novak said that it is important to recognize those who do make such significant contributions to the University.

“Often times these gifts will not be received by the University until after the donor has died. Our primary goal with the Brackenridge Circle is to publicly honor these individuals for their extraordinary contributions and care for Pitt,” Novak said in an interview last week.

Donors include the Baierl family, the Fu family and the Marous family, as well as 63 other living benefactors. Altogether, the society’s planned deferred gifts will total $88 million for the University.

Novak said these contributions support various areas of the University including endowed scholarships and research funding, as well as the construction and renovation of facilities at the school’s various branches.

Some donors approach the University with plans for where their donation would go.

“In some cases, a donor has a very clear idea of what they would like to do and in other cases, our development officers help prospective donors learn about the various ways they can support the University, its faculty or students,” Novak said.

Donors can also give on behalf of a family member or beloved faculty member or “to address critical issues or needs that they care about,” Novak said. Donors Lucine and John Marous provide an example of the latter.Both alumni of the University Pittsburgh gave gifts to help establish courses pertaining to Catholicism.

“We are practicing Catholics, and we realized that a big proportion of the student population is also Catholic. The school needed a course in which this part of the population can further the study of their religion,” Lucine Marous said.

Both Lucine and John Marous attended the award ceremony and said that it was “lovely.”

This new society is not the only way Pitt honors its numerous donors.The Cathedral of Learning Society honors donors who have already given gifts of $1 million or more. The Chancellor’s Circle is for those who make gifts totaling $1,000 or more each year. The Gold Circle exclusively recognizes younger alumni who give $500 or more annually. The 1787 Society expresses gratitude to planned deferred donations of any amount.