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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
As 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
As 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
Nearly 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 email@example.com.
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.