“I want to give back to Colgate because the University gave me an amazing education. I use the skills I learned every day, and my experience as a student fostered a long-term passion for learning.”
These words from Jane Najarian Porter ’74 echo the sentiments of many Colgate graduates. She attributes much of her success in life to the start she got at the University. “At Colgate, I learned how to ask the right questions and to follow up on thoughts,” Jane remembers. “I learned how to solve problems, work on a team, and create something from start to finish.”
This appreciation spurs her activity as an alumna volunteer (ten years mentoring in the Thought Into Action entrepreneurship program) and as a donor. Jane set up a charitable gift annuity to benefit the English department, an option she knew from her professional experience would serve her and her husband, Robert Porter, well: “The vehicle is really perfect for this time in our life. We are getting ready to retire soon, and this will provide some partially tax-free income and deductions for us.”
When she graduated in 1974, Jane recalls that there were “no jobs to be found.” Jane eventually enrolled in nursing school and got another nursing degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a nurse for seven years.
When she and her husband Rob moved to Cleveland, Jane switched careers again — becoming a retirement investment manager for 38 years. In the 1990s she began exploring fiber arts: “Now I design and make fashion accessories.”
A member of the first co-educational class, Jane still feels the influence of Colgate — particularly her time learning from English department faculty. “John Blackmore’s lecture on John Cage inspired my love for collage in my textile work,” she recalls. “I loved going on the London Study Group with Professor Wilbur Albrecht in 1973. It still remains one of the best things I have ever done in my life.”
Jane hopes others will think to mark their Colgate experience by giving back in some way: “After Colgate, if you get involved with volunteering for a program, mentoring, or simply donating funds, a door opens up to meet new people.”
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.