R.A. Booth Society

The R.A. Booth Society is an expression of appreciation to those individuals who, in the spirit of its namesake, provide for future generations at Willamette University. R.A. Booth Society members have affirmed Willamette’s motto—“not unto ourselves alone are we born”—by establishing planned gifts that benefit the university. These gifts include bequests, gift annuities, charitable trusts, retirement plan designations and life insurance policies.

R.A. Booth Society members share the satisfaction that their contributions will have a lasting impact. They also receive special recognition from the university.

To learn more about the R.A. Booth Society, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at (866) 204-8102 or giftplanning@willamette.edu.

Who was R.A. Booth?

Robert Asbury Booth (1858-1944) is remembered at Willamette for his generosity, commitment, and vision. A successful Oregon businessman and Willamette Trustee, his contagious efforts over four decades were the foundation of Willamette’s endowment.

In 1922 he wrote:

“I am led to the belief that what is placed as permanent endowment for education is the highest contribution that I can make to my fellow man. Nothing less than the best I can do is adequate; anything less will leave a broken track and an incomplete earthly existence.”

His financial and leadership contributions helped shape the positive educational experiences shared by generations of students attending Willamette.

Meet your R.A. Booth Committee Chairs

Life Trustee Emeriti Bill Haden, Jim Booth '64, and Marty Wolf '57 L'60 have all made special provisions for the university in their estate plans; and in Marty's case, through a charitable gift annuity. Through these gifts they became a part of the R.A. Booth Society, Willamette's legacy giving society. In their roles as R.A. Booth Committee chairs, they will help Willamette celebrate and grow this most special group of donors.

William R. "Bill" Haden

Bill HadenAs a retired college president, Bill Haden knows first-hand the impact of philanthropic support to an institution and its students.

"Higher education has become a very expensive proposition, and philanthropy of all kinds and sizes is important," says Bill, who is co-chair of the R.A. Booth Committee for Willamette. "A scholarship gift may make the difference between a gifted student being able to attend Willamette or not."

Bill's career encompasses almost 40 years in educational fundraising and higher education administration, including one year as acting president of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and, until his retirement in 2006, 11 years as president of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Previously, he held senior leadership roles in development, alumni relations and public affairs at West Virginia University, the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago, Reed College and West Virginia Wesleyan College. During that time, Bill helped plan and run nine major capital campaigns.

He says he's proud to serve as co-chair of the R.A. Booth Committee because "the liberal arts college experience—the idea that you learn to read, write and think well—has never been more important."

Bill's experience in—and commitment to—higher education also infuses his service as a life trustee on the Willamette University Board of Trustees. He joined the board as a United Methodist Conference lay representative in 2010 and became a life trustee in 2016.

Bill is not an alumnus of Willamette University—he graduated from West Virginia University in 1964 with a BA in political science, received his master's degree in government from George Washington University in 1965 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Charleston in 1999. Yet, Bill has made a very generous provision in his estate plans for Willamette's endowment, and he is an active member in Willamette's legacy giving society, the R.A. Booth Society.

He says, "I made an unrestricted gift to Willamette's endowment because I know from experience how important it is for a college or university president to have the freedom and flexibility to use funds where they're needed."

James C. "Mr. Willamette" Booth '64

James BoothAs a member of one of Willamette's most historic legacy families, Jim Booth '64 is proud to continue a longstanding tradition of supporting the university.

The R.A. Booth Society, the university's legacy giving society, is named after Jim's great-grandfather, Robert Asbury Booth, a prominent Oregon businessman and Willamette trustee, whose work on behalf of the university over four decades laid the foundation of our endowment.

Following Robert's example, Jim now serves as co-chair of the R.A. Booth Committee for Willamette. "I'm deeply indebted to the university for giving me an excellent liberal arts education—and a social education through my participation in athletics and my fraternity—that equipped me well for life," Jim says. "My four years at Willamette were a transformative experience."

A member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, Jim lettered in football, basketball, track and baseball, garnering 11 athletic varsity letters—the most in the university's history. After receiving his MBA from the University of Oregon, Jim enjoyed a long career in the commercial printing industry, before returning home to Willamette. Serving as director of alumni relations for 20 years and then heading up the alumni travel program, he earned the nickname "Mr. Willamette."

For his service to the university, Jim received the Sparks Medallion in 2009. He was inducted into the Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame as a team member in 1995 and as an individual in 2009. He's proud that his three sons, Jay ('91), Brian ('93) and Jeff ('95) are also Willamette graduates.

Despite his dedicated service, Jim insists, "I've gotten way more from Willamette than I've ever given."

To demonstrate their gratitude, Jim and his wife, Sandy, created the James C. Booth Hall of Fame Fund, which, when fully funded at endowment levels, will support the Athletic Hall of Fame in perpetuity. Although they have already made several generous gifts to the fund, Jim and Sandy have also made a provision for the fund in their estate plans. By doing so, they became members of the R.A. Booth Society.

Jim now hopes to show other alumni how easy—and rewarding—it is to give back to their alma mater. "Willamette has never been a better, more deserving institution," he says. "It deserves our support."

Martin R. "Marty" Wolf '57, JD'60

Martin WolfNearly 60 years after graduating, Marty Wolf '57, JD'60 still feels a connection to his alma mater. That's why in 2017, he established the Martin R. Wolf Scholarship Fund to support students at the College of Law. The scholarship will be partly funded by a $3 million charitable gift annuity that Marty also established that year—the largest life income gift in Willamette's history.

Although he worked outside the field of law, he credits much of his business success to his legal background, and he wanted to give back.

"The education and discipline it gave me during those three years were two major factors in becoming somewhat successful in other endeavors," Marty says. "I do not wish to let a lack of funds stand in the way of a deserving student, and so if I can help to bridge that 'lack of funds' gap, it is my pleasure to do so."

Victoria Gray JD'19 was the first recipient of the Martin R. Wolf Scholarship. She graduated in May 2019 with a job lined up at Salem firm Garrett Hemann Robertson for the fall.

"Marty Wolf's scholarship provided me with the financial peace of mind that I needed to truly focus on my studies," Victoria says. "Because of Marty's ongoing involvement and presence at Willamette, I felt uniquely supported in my law school endeavors."

Marty especially enjoyed meeting Victoria during the past year.

"Our meeting reassured me that she was deserving of the scholarship," Marty says. "She is a delightful person!"

Marty also supports Willamette as a member of the Law Leadership Cabinet and as a chair of the R.A. Booth Committee. Already a member of the R.A. Booth Society, the university's legacy giving society, he is the perfect representative to help spread the word about including Willamette in estate plans.

"I hope that my gift giving (as well as that of many others) encourages alumni to put Willamette in their giving plans," Marty says. "The reputation today of Willamette College of Law is also their reputation—all of us who can should be proud to support an institution who has given us so much."

For more information about leaving a gift to Willamette through your will or trust or by establishing a life income gift, contact Cathy McCann Gaskin JD'02 at (503) 370-6492 or cmccann@willamette.edu.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Willamette University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Willamette University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 900 State Street, Salem, OR 97301, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Willamette or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Willamette as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Willamette as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Willamette where you agree to make a gift to Willamette and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

First name is required
Last Name is required
Please include an '@' in the email address