Planned Giving Testimonies

Dr. Lynn Burley, currently chair and associate professor at UCA, is a long-time professor of educational linguistics in the department of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures & Cultures.

Lynn was inspired to designate a planned gift after her colleague and friend Dr. Joanna Castner Post suddenly passed away in 2014. After her passing, the writing department created the Dr. Joanna Castner Post Memorial Scholarship Fund in her honor.

“It made me wonder, ‘if I died tomorrow, would people do anything like that for me? Probably not! I’ll just do it myself!’” said Lynn. “Planned giving can make people feel nervous because they want to give their estate to family, but with planned giving you can make a more substantial philanthropic gift than you could otherwise.”

Lynn chose to designate her planned gift to travel benefiting linguistics students. At that time, language students had priority to travel scholarships. Many students are encouraged to apply for funds to attend the Linguistic Society Institute Conference, where they can participate in a multitude of once-in-a-lifetime classes.

The distinct quality about Lynn’s planned gift is that the travel funds will be open to domestic travel options, such as English students traveling to Arizona to camp with native American tribes as research for native American literature.

“My personal opinion is that the greatest need for students is in the summer when scholarships don’t apply,” said Lynn. “Learning shouldn’t have to stop because of lack of funds.”

Ruth “Mama Bear” Clayton began working for the Department of Language and Linguistics in 2003. After 14 years, she has decided to include the University of Central Arkansas Foundation in her estate plans.

“Financially, I knew I couldn’t make a big gift but as I got older, I thought ‘What am I going to do?’ Since I don’t have any kids, I had to decide where my money would go,” said Clayton.

Clayton began considering planned giving after receiving the Planned Giving email newsletter.

“I chose to designate half of my life insurance to go to the department as a scholarship for study abroad opportunities. I have seen the difference in these children who study abroad. They come back speaking the language better, they are more mature, and they have a whole different attitude because they have had to do this on their own,” Clayton continued, “If this can help even one child in my name to have that opportunity, it is worth it.”

Clayton credits UCA for helping her attain financial stability and personal growth.

“I have found my place – where I needed to be so that I could grow and flourish.”