Gift Planning

Donor Stories

Denis Cronin ’69


Photo of Denis CroninDenis Cronin ’69 Reflects On His Colgate Involvement and Why He Joined the Willow Society

Denis Cronin ’69, P’09 ’10, chair of the board of trustees emeritus, has a long history of service to Colgate University, and the Willow Society is thankful for his generous leadership. Retiring as chair of the board of trustees in 2015, Denis recently shared his thoughts and perspectives about his Colgate experience, his long-standing engagement with Colgate as an alumnus, and his plans to impact the university going forward.

Willow Society (WS): Your fellow alumni would be most interested in learning more about you and your connections to Colgate. Why do you want to share this now?

Denis Cronin (DC): Thanks. During the last few months, I have been reflecting on the ways in which the experiences I had as an undergraduate at Colgate have influenced the paths I chose in the years that followed. Also, as the years have passed, I now have more clarity about why it is important for me to continue giving back to the university I love so much. My hope is that these perspectives will inspire my fellow alumni to do the same.

WS: You have a long and meaningful history with Colgate that reaches back to your days as an undergraduate. What are some of the highlights of your formative years on campus and how did they impact your life?

DC: From the beginning, the scholarship aid that made the extraordinary Colgate liberal arts experience possible for me is an honor I have never taken for granted. As an undergrad, I was captain of the varsity basketball team, president of Lambda Chi fraternity, and a member of Konosioni. I am certain that achievements in my professional life later on derived from the leadership skills I developed while I was at Colgate. As well, I’m sure that mastering the rigorous Colgate curriculum paved the way for my success in law school later.

WS: Despite having a dynamic professional life, you have continued to take an active interest in all things Colgate and have taken on leadership roles as well.

DC: I have always had a strong desire to help my alma mater in any way that I could. As you know, I have been an active volunteer for Colgate over the years—culminating in my term as chair of the board of trustees. I was a member of the search committees that hired Rebecca Chopp, Colgate’s 15th president, and Jeffrey I. Herbst, Colgate’s 16th president. More recently, I was an ex-officio member of the committee that hired Colgate’s 17th president, Brian W. Casey. I was the first chair of the extraordinarily successful $480 million Passion for the Climb capital campaign. I also served for two years on the Alumni Council and on the Parents’ Steering Committee of the Society of Families.

WS: Your generosity of spirit, time, and leadership has served Colgate on so many levels for many years. Is there more you plan to do?

DC: For all my life, I have made it a priority to give back to Colgate with my loyalty, service, and resources—and two of my children graduated from Colgate. Importantly, I became a Willow Society member by letting the university know that I have included Colgate in my estate plan. This means a lot to me because now I have peace of mind knowing that plans are in place to continue my support far into the future. Combining the opportunity to give back to the university we love with potentially significant tax advantages is a powerful reason that alumni like me have included Colgate in their estate plans. I give to Colgate now to be sure I can continue to support Colgate in the future. I think that other grateful alumni will gain this same peace of mind by taking this next step and becoming Willow Society members as well. All Colgate graduates should remember that Colgate’s reputation, faculty, buildings, endowment, and all that is Colgate existed on the first day they arrived on campus. Even full-pay students paid only a fraction of the cost of a Colgate education. Those who received scholarships, as I did, should contribute every year to Colgate—and I do!


The discussion herein is general in nature and may not apply to all individuals. Prospective donors are urged to consult their personal tax and financial advisors concerning the specific consequences of making gifts to Colgate. We would be pleased to discuss, in confidence, ways in which you may support Colgate. These measures may also have an impact on your estate planning.

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