Gift Planning

Too Many Interests, Too Little Time

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Sarah DoppSarah L. Dopp '68 says since childhood, UVM has always been "the center of my cultural universe." Both of her parents worked for the University for many years. Her mother, Katharine Eckley Dopp, graduated from UVM in 1928, and her father was a Burlington native who went to Burlington Business College (now Champlain College) and took classes at UVM from, among others, former president Lyman Rowell. World War II interrupted her father's college work, and after the war, Sarah says, he and her mother had a decision to make — go back to college or have a child. "They opted for the child, which was good for me," she laughs.

UVM was always a part of her daily life, Sarah says, so when it came time to go to college herself, she availed herself of the University's tuition remission policy and followed in the family tradition. After graduating with a degree in medical technology, she went on to pursue a successful career with Fletcher Allen Health Care as a supervisor in the Blood Bank and later in phlebotomy and eventually became the system manager for the blood bank computer system. After taking early retirement in 2003, she remained at Fletcher Allen on a part-time basis and still spends some six to eight hours a week helping to keep Blood Bank records accurate and up to date.

Sarah is also a tireless volunteer for various organizations in and around the Burlington area, including the UVM Alumni Association, which awarded her its Distinguished Service Award in 2008. A self-described amateur historian, she has been involved with the Chittenden County Historical Society in various capacities for some 40 years; she is the current president of the Vermont Historical Society and has served on its board for 18 years; she chairs the investment committee at the First Baptist Church in Burlington and has served as chair of its Board of Trustees "four or five times." And then there's the South Burlington Land Trust, which she founded, and where she remains involved. "Too many interests, too little time," she says.

Sarah recently became a member of UVM's Wilbur Society, a group of some 750 alumni, parents, and friends who have chosen to support the University through wills, trusts, and other forms of estate gifts. Sarah opted for the "flexible gift annuity," which gives a donor an annual opportunity to decide whether to begin receiving annuity payments. The longer that event is deferred, the higher the income when the payments eventually begin.

"That flexibility is great for me," says Sarah. "There may come a day when it will be very nice to have that in the back pocket."